by Catherine Haug
Saturday October 17, ESP joined Tamarack Time! festivities with a cider press on the deck of La Provence (next to the Chocolate Desserts table).
The small, portable press, loaned to us by Woods Bay grill, includes both a grinder and a press. [Some presses have the grinder separate, so that both processes can happen simultaneously.]
- First, whole washed and rinsed apples are put into the grinder, which breaks up the apples into a bottomless wood container lined with a porous “scrim” and set upon a wood tray.
- When ready to press, the scrim is folded over the ground apples, and the press disk is attached to the handle just above the apples in the scrim.
- The press is operated by turning the handle (not as easy as it looks! – just ask Annie G). Keeping the threads well-greased is key.
- The juice flows out onto the tray, and may foam up a bit before flowing through a hole at the front of the tray into a collection bucket.
- After each batch, the grinder, scrim, wood container and tray are washed thoroughly with water.
At one point, the bolt broke that held the grinder handle to the grinder wheel. Disaster! Then, one of our onlookers made a run to the auto-parts store to secure a replacement bolt. But it was just a tad short, so Edd and Edmund improvised by sawing off a bit of the wood handle. And we were back in business.
Flip Videos (by Sally Janover)
- Grinding Process, with Audience (5:23)
- Edd Pressing Apples into Cider (0:21)
- Solving a Fluid Problem (2:05)
Edmund F. was in charge of washing and rinsing apples and equipment, and took several photos of the press and workers. Edd B. was in charge of the press. Catherine was in charge of pouring tasters, and encouraging on-lookers, especially children, to get a closer look. Sally J. filmed the process and audience with her Flip video camera.
Shelli R. and Jean H each volunteered time, helping wherever needed. Jeffrey F stopped by to inspect the grinder and pressing mechanisms, to get ideas for his own press, and lent us a helping hand.
Many people (mostly waiting in line for chocolate desserts) were curious, especially children, about the whole process and the taste of the juice. Common comments were, “I can’t believe how many apples it takes to make a little bit of cider!” and “This is delicious!” and “Will you be here next year?”
As we were cleaning up, Marc of La Provence said, “This was great, don’t you think? I mean, all the other tables are finished and people are still bringing apples.”
Quite a few people brought apples and containers, keeping us busy from 11:30 AM until 4:00 PM. We pressed:
- Macintosh only
- Macs and honey crips
- Macs and crab apples
- Macs frozen on the tree.
The gravensteins produced a delicate, flowery-sweet cider; the Macs produced a dark, rich, sweet cider. The frozen apples produced clear juice (no pulp), in much greater quantity than when not frozen. And apples that had just begun to get soft, ground up more finely and produced more juice than crisp apples.
We generated a lot of apple debris (peels, cores, seeds, etc.), which we added to the community compost pile at the St. Patrick’s Community Garden. Jeffrey F said that apparently apples provide a perfect mix of potassium and nitrogen to compost.
More Flip Videos (by Sally Janover)
The EssentiaList: Homemade Apple Cider – Includes instructions on juicing the apples, then making soft or hard cider, or apple cider vinegar. Also links to websites to purchase a press, or instructions to make your own.
We had a table with information on St. Patrick’s Community Garden, and contracts in case someone wanted to sign up. Michelle Patterson, chairperson of the Community Garden Committee was there to greet interested persons; however, the enthusiasm over chocolate and cider stole the show, and no new gardeners signed up.
Michelle did get a chance to talk to Tamus of Swan River Gardens (when he dropped off his apples for pressing). He will offer a discount for community gardeners on soil-mix products, and may contribute to educational workshops.
Credits & Thankyous
- Photos by Edmund Fitzgerald
- Flip Videos by Sally Janover
- Woods Bay Grill provided the press
- Marc Guizol offered his deck space and access to his sinks at La Provence
- Michelle Patterson provided a pop-up cover (in case of rain).
- Shelli R provided new plastic milk jugs for cider (in case someone forgot containers)
- Volunteers: Shelli R, Jean H, Jeffrey F
- Thanks to all who brought apples and participated in the fun.