Well, this year we got an extra special treat cuz some college friends who recently moved back to the area so he could attend seminary have a cider press and invited us to make a day of it.
The initial plan was for us to go pick our own apples at simmons farm after church, then head on up for our cider day. Unfortunately, it was 40 and raining and we're wimps. So, we went home for lunch and to let the dog out and picked up a half a bushel of apples at Soergel Orchards on our way in.
When we got there, we dumped our apples in with our friend's apples in their son's kiddie pool to be hosed off. Variety is key with cider. We had Jonathon, Macintosh, McIntyre and Gala Apples.
Their press is an old hand crank one that has been fitted with a small (lawnmower?) engine. It's held together by string, the teeth are so worn the apples need to be prodded more than originally meant and I still think the whole thing is a thing of great beauty.
Basically, you grind the apples then press them and the juice runs out.
Our juice catcher had a strainer sitting in it to catch any seed or stem chunks that may have escaped. Our slightly less than 2 bushels of apples produced 6 gallons of raw cider. We put our portion in bottles for traveling and got our chilled butts inside, where Lindsay had made us a wonderful supper. More on their fate tomorrow!