Saturday, April 2, 2016

Social Cider Making

Cider making is a good excuse to invite some friends over to share in the labour and the resulting produce. Kids love to help out and never seem to tire of the different jobs, especially loading the crusher.
Firstly the fruit is chopped in half and then place in small batches into the crusher - seen as a silver funnel next to the friend with the hat. Once the press is about two thirds full with apple pulp the crusher is removed.
The press is gently lowered onto the pulp which is contained in a piece of cloth. A round of timber split into two for ease of removal goes on top of the cloth and two sets of slats reduce the depth the press has to go before binding.

The handle is turned until it meets some resistance and then a lock is placed in the ratchet so the lever can be operated to move the press down one tooth at a time. The juice starts to flow into the jug at the bottom. When it stops flowing more pressure is added until it seems tight. Then the press is tilted to drain the remaining juice into the jug. The lock is then removed from the ratchet and the press wound back up. The cloth is removed and the pulp is put into a tub for pig pleasure later.
The press is over forty years old, since its importation from Switzerland. It works like a dream and six boxes of apples have been turned into twenty litres of juice. The juice will stay in the barrel until t has stopped fermenting and then it is bottled and ready for drinking.

Cider making day has been a very pleasant opportunity to spend time with friends, share a healthy lunch together and produce a drink to be savoured at intervals over the next year. It's a hard life, but I could get used to it.

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