Every Fall we press apple cider with a big, old apple press borrowed from a neighbor. Family and friends come out for a day of "appling" and socializing, going home with a few gallons of fresh cider.This year we had about 10 varieties of apples. The best cider is made with a blend of different types of apples.
Next, bad spots are cut out, and large apples cut in half. Most of our apples are smallish, so we didn't have to do too much cutting.
Here Nita is tossing the apples into the hopper. The hopper funnels the apples into the hog, which roughly grinds the apples into small bits to prepare them for pressing. It is loud, and while the hog is going, there's not much conversation. The apple bits fall down into a large, wooden basket.
Ambrosial nectar drips. We filter the fresh cider through cheesecloth to remove the chunks of apple. Most of these jars will go into the freezer, to be enjoyed all year. What doesn't fit in the freezer must be consumed fresh within a couple of weeks. Some years we make hard cider, but decided not to this year. We had a few pears, so the last batch pressed was pear/apple, and that was the best! All together, this year we got 29 gallons of cider. The apple crop was slim this year; last year we had enough apples to press over 50 gallons of cider!
Now I'm sitting here writing this on a chilly, grey, blustery day; looking at these pictures, I can still smell the apples and feel that sunshine on my face...hmmm..methinks a cup of hot, mulled cider is in order.