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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Apples enow

In the improved air I am back at work and beginning apple cidering a few weeks early as the apples are ready.


Using multiple varieties creates a more complex flavor and your constituency will prefer the results.




I grind ours with a dedicated electric shredder (it's not good for much else) into a bucket and then pour the pulp (about five buckets full) in a clean cloth sack (a large pillowcase will do) and suspend the sack (I use a four block rope pulley and a tree branch) over a suitable container. It's cleaner than it looks, but wash everything before and after and be vigilant.


The tub in the kiddie wagon collects the gravity-pressed juice. The sieve over the tub helps keep yellow jackets (valuable allies!) from drowning. They gather around what I'm doing but I move deliberately and calmly, knowing they're not after me.


The juice that runs from the sack may be dipped and strained into quart jars and canned. This setup works for pears, blackberries, grapes and other fruits as well. I add anything that takes my fancy to the cider -- this one has a few pears and also quince. I think I'll throw some mint into the hopper as well.


We make cider two quarts at a time all winter, boosting with a little bit of honey and wine yeast.


Or if we prefer the juice flat, that's good too.

This method is not efficient, but it is resilient. Leftover pomace can be used to make vinegar and then dumped at the foot of various orchard trees for mulch and soil amendment; poultry love to pick through the pomace as well.


Be sure to wassail the trees with your cider at the solstice:
Old apple tree, old apple tree; 
We've come to wassail thee; 
To bear and to bow apples enow; 
Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full; 
Barn floors full and a little heap under the stairs!




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