Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Apple Cider Making Day

Apple Cider Day is a more recent family tradition. My dad recalls having an old press when he was growing up on their small family farm. A few years ago, I mentioned that I had been reading up on making apple cider and it got him all excited about it again. For the extended family Christmas present that year, he bought a cider press with the plans that we could all get together at harvest time in the Fall to make fresh cider. He has a few apple trees on his property and it is not uncommon to pick 20+ bushels each year. This year, we picked 8 bushels off just his golden delicious tree alone! (For those of you unfamiliar with how much a  bushel of apples is, they weigh about 48lbs.) This means we picked nearly 400 lbs of apples from just one tree! We make some into applesauce and pie filling and all the rest we make into cider.

Cider is an all day event -

Washing the apples is only the beginning.

Here is the crew of cousins who are chopping the apples into quarters.

We have a set-up that uses a new sink disposal to chop the apples to bits. Here is my dad shoving the apples into the disposal unit.

Here is the apple pulp that comes out.

We collect it in buckets while it waits for the press.

These two are helping to man the press.

They hold the fabric pieces open so the apple pulp can be scooped in.

The fabric piece is twisted tight and layed between plastic disks. (We purchased the plastic parts as a cider press making kit and then added the required wood pieces to build our own press.)

We layer three pieces of this apple-filled fabric in between plastic disks.

Then the pressing begins - with the help of a car jack.

Here is a closer shot of the jack. As it is tightened down, the cider is pressed out of the apples. 

Here is a picture of the entire press.

You can see the fresh cider dripping into the pan at the bottom.

Once collected, the cider is then pasturized on the stove.

We seal it in 2 quart canning jars for enjoyment in months to come.

By the end of the day, we all feel the need for a cozy place to sleep. I slipped downstairs at my parent's home when it was time to head home and found my two youngest asleep on the couch. They had had a fun-filled day with cousins and were worn out. Were't we all! There is nothing like a work project as a family though - it builds great memories! We pressed over 50 gallons of cider!


  1. That is a pretty impressive set up you have for apple cider! I just canned another 14 quarts of salsa, making my grand total 74 quarts done so far. We have already eaten and given away 10 of those. I love your recipe. I just tweaked it bit with a few more spices and I cut the recipe down into thirds so it would fit in my pots. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 74 quarts is a lot of salsa! I'm glad you like the recipe. It is definitely our favorite as well. I've learned to use my pressure canner pot to mix the big recipe in so I can do it all at once.