Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Harvesting and Processing - the autumn rush is nearly over

Autumn is really here when it is time to press the apples. This year most of our own apples were spoilt by fruit fly. This has never been a problem in the past but the fly population has grown with some local orchards being left to rot. If there are some heavy frosts then the flies will die off and the problem may be less next year.
So the solution is to collect roadside apples. There are always a lot to choose from and this year I collected thirteen boxes. This meant that we could fill our 30 litre barrel for cider and have plenty of spare juice to give to some friends who came to help and some for the kids to drink straight u

This is the press that we borrow each year. It is an old Swiss model which does the whole process in two stages. First the apples are chopped up with blades that are turned using the wheel on the front of the press. Then the chopper is removed and the actual press swung over the barrel of apple pieces. This is turned with the handle at the top until the juice drips out through the base. 
This year we put the pulp through a second time which increased the volume of juice by about half again.

This summer we have had plenty of tomatoes. These have been combined with our zucchini, garlic and basil to make a sauce. The bottles of sauce were then sterilised in the Vacola and stored in the pantry. Seventy two bottles at last count. There are also jars of peaches, plums and stewed apples.

One of the final big harvest is the Jerusalem artichokes. We have one bed - about 3m by 1m. Each year we try to completely clear it. The next year there is a bumper crop to harvest. This year was by far the biggest with two full feed sacks and a large bucket - about 50kg. 
We don't eat them but after a day ignoring them the pigs start to enjoy the nutty earthy flavour. This supplements their feed for a couple of weeks at a time when they are putting on a lot of weight.

Autumn is certainly a time to celebrate the fecundity of nature and put aside some of the food that will make winter taste better!

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