National Apple Month :: Cider Pressing

Over the weekend we pressed apples with the family to make fresh apple cider.  We had planned this before I knew it was National Apple Month - but it worked out perfectly!  Since so many of you asked about pressing apples on our vintage apple press, I thought I'd share a bunch of our photos here {below the jump}.  

We used a mix of Jonagold apples and Granny Smith apples.  Some times we gather apples from a friend's orchard that they couldn't sell at market - this time my parents picked them up from the local fruit stand.

The apples go into the top of the press where there is a grinder with sort of vicious metal teeth.  Mr. Hedin used an old axe handle to move the apples around so they don't get stuck in the teeth.

The children get to throw the apples in, but we are nervous that their fingers will get in there somehow.  Lars had probably just gotten in trouble for getting too close to the teeth as they were turning.  Thus, the charming expression. 

Once the apples are ground up they drop into a slatted barrel that we line with cheese cloth.  

After the slatted barrel is full the cheese cloth gets folded over the top of the apples and a large piece of wood is placed on top so the press can squeeze down evenly.   

Juice then pours out the spout on the bottom of the press. 

 You can drink it right away.  And we do.  Some people pasteurize it but I've found it takes the "fresh" flavor out of the juice.  So we just drink it fast or freeze it.  We tried to make hard cider one year and it was an epic fail.  Epic.  I'll stick to buying it.