Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Cider Pressing!

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I can't think of a better way to begin the season than with the smell of freshly picked apples and some apple cider!  To get started, we needed apples, and a lot of them.  Surprisingly enough, the past 4 years we have discovered 2 apple trees within a half mile of our house.  If you know us, we're not shy----we'll ask the homeowner if we can pick their tree if we see apples rotting in their yard.  (If their tree is being picked and there are no apples on the ground, then we won't ask.)  Anyway, apple trees produce fruit every other year so we had to find a new tree this year because unfortunately, home ownership changes hands and one of our trees isn't available this year.  This summer I've been sleuthing the streets, and oddly enough, I found a tree at a school right along my weekly walking route.  I asked my boss if the school district uses chemicals on school grounds and if I could receive permission to pick the tree (to help the groundscrew of course!) and he granted my request and verified that no chemicals are allowed.  He is the facilities manager so receiving permission wasn't very difficult.  At 6:45 the next morning (our son is a rooster!) we picked apples!

(Walking down quiet streets in the early A.M.  Jon is pushing the wheel barrel and ladder and I am pushing Paul and the fruit picker!)

(Here is the very tall apple tree with no apples within reach from the ground.)

(Jon is on a 10 foot tall ladder with the fruit picker almost fully extended.)

(Here is the fruit picker.  It's basically a wire basket attached a rod that can extend.  The top of the wire basket has hooks on one side that helps the picker grasp the top of the fruit or branch to dislodge the fruit.  The foam pad cushions the fruit to prevent bruising.)

(Jon's view from the ladder.)

(The wheel barrel at home ready for preserving.  We were told these were McIntosh apples.)

(Here is the Happy Valley Ranch Homesteader Apple Crusher and Press that we purchased from the Portland Homestead Supply Company. )

(While one person turns the big wheel on the right of the press, another person feeds apples into the hopper/crusher which is that black box.  The crushed apples fall below into the basket lined with a mesh bag.)

(A wooden disk sits on top of the mesh bag and a gear is turned to press the apples.  This picture shows what the pile of apples looks like after they have been pressed.)

(Jon is turning the press to smash the apples.  This press is designed using basic physics so not a lot of strength has to be applied.)

(Apple cider!!)

(Half a wheel barrel produced 2 soup pots full of apple cider!  These 2 pots made 11 quart jars after samples!  To can apple cider, bring the cider to a boil soon after pressing.  When it comes to a boil, ladle into sterilized jars.  Process quart jars in water bath for 5 minutes and half gallon jars for 10 minutes. )

(Cider and 2 jars of dehydrated apple slices.)


(Apple pie filling)

Does anyone have any ideas on what to do with the apple mush after it comes out of the press?  We filled about 4, 5 gallon buckets full of pressed apple mush.  I was thinking if I had one of those sieves that separates the core and seeds from the good part of the apple that I could make applesauce, but I was wondering if the applesauce would be too dry without the liquid?  Until we find a good solution, we will just put it into the compost. 


Phoebe September 25, 2011 at 12:38 AM  

The chickens love our apple pressings.
I have found that the mash is great in the fall for the garden if you sprinkle it around and then turn it under.The worms love the stuff. Any big globs take too long to compost though and just make a slimy mess.

Holly September 26, 2011 at 2:23 PM  

Thanks for the idea Phoebe! I don't have chickens (yet) but that's a great idea. Taking your advice, we took our pear peelings from the press and added them directly to our garden beds yesterday. It does keep the compost pile from turning into a pile of mush.

Holly November 12, 2011 at 11:16 AM  

I just wanted to include this:
60 pounds of apples makes exactly 3 gallons!

Anonymous October 13, 2012 at 5:41 PM  

apple cider vinegar from the mashed apples

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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