by Catherine Haug
Remember that wonderfully fun event during Tamarack! Time last October, where ESP had a cider press on the deck of LaProvence to press your apples? We do plan to do this again at Tamarack! Time 2010; using a wonderful new press made by Jeffrey Funk.
Jeffrey has been perfecting the design for some time, and has now pressed all the apples he saved in his root cellar.
Read on for information from Jeffrey on its use and construction (and more photos), and also for links to information on making cider and hard cider:
On Construction of the contraption
“The grinder is powered by human energy through a dumpster-sourced stairstep exercise machine, which is hooked up to a contraption I made from some old gears, a flywheel off a printing press, and bearings from the scrapyard at Pacific [Steel and Recycling].
The only new part was a bicycle chain (dumpster bikes are invariably multi-geared, which uses a different chain than was required for this project).
The press was built using the iron headstock from a junk store which was barely recognizable as being a cider press. The rest is home made from oak and scrap metal parts.
The press basket is quite large, and one pressing with the very finely ground pomace that the grinder makes will produce four or five gallons of cider.”
On Community Use:
“The idea of building a press this size was to make it available for community use, such as Tamarack Time.
Everyone knows of apple trees that don’t get picked. Scouting out these unused trees ahead of time, I think a group of folks could easily gather enough apples for several hundred gallons of cider.
So keep your eyes peeled for abandoned orchards, and save up any gallon bottles you come across.”
On storage, etc:
“Cider keeps well in the cellar, can be frozen, or made hard for really long term keeping.
Also, as we did this year, apples can be stored for several months and then juiced. We made cider in February of last year also.
And of course, don’t forget to plant an apple tree or two, even if you just rent your house. That kind of foresight on the part of un-named others is what allowed us to make cider this year!