No, I wasn’t planning on a third installment of apples. However, a commenter last week asked me if you could drink the juice from the boiled apples for jelly as apple juice or cider. Having tasted it, I knew you couldn’t. But I wasn’t sure why, so I called my friend Chris, whose husband Joel grew up on an Apple Orchard. They have a cider press, so I asked her some questions about it.
This is where the story gets a little complicated. Suffice it say, I was coerced into participating in the making of apple cider under suspicious intentions. I am well aware how much Joel likes my bread, but it appears he is attempting to one-up me (did anyone see last week’s Office episode with Dwight??) by providing me with more cider we can possibly drink in a year. So that I will be indebted to him.
What do I do when I am indebted to someone? I make them bread.
Are you starting to understand his thinking?
Regardless of the motivations behind the cider making, it was so cool and fun! It was a beautiful Sunday with friends. Yes, I’ll be making bread all day today, but it was worth it!
I was running late and my camera had my big honking lens on it, so I told Morgan to grab the point and shoot (that she has all but claimed as her own). What happens when a 14 year old claims your old point and shoot camera? Anyone?
I’ll help you out: the battery is in a continual stage of dead.
So these pics were taken by Morgan with my iPhone. They capture the day just fine.
The Making of the Apple Cider:
Due to Apple Madness Part One and Part Duex, I only had the motley bin of reject apples I discovered behind the pine tree last week to contribute. Joel, however, knowing he wanted to provide me with high quality cider, had purchased some frozen Honeycrisps from his family’s old orchard. Minnesota orchards suffered a mostly devastating 2009 apple season. First it rained all October. (It seriously did). Then we had two very early hard freezes before the month was out. Depending on where they were, many orchards lost huge amounts of valuable apples in that weather. Joel bought some of those weather damaged apples at a huge discount to make the cider.
I, of course, offered to split the cost with him. But he was having none of that. It would interfere with his well-laid plan… He also got some apples from the top of a neighbor’s tree. Plus, another friend, Tim, came to help and brought a huge amount of really nice looking apples.
That is, apparently, the key to good cider: you gotta have a good mix.
The first step was to wash and cut out any rot, or very obvious “yuck” from the apples. The few that I brought along? Well, they garnered many laughs and snickers from the crowd. If only they knew that was what ALL my apples looked like. Well actually, maybe it’s best to keep that to myself since I will be gifting these very people with pies and jelly very soon…
Then, those apples get put into the grinder — the craziest home-spun contraption I’ve ever seen! But it gets the job done. I don’t have a picture of the whole thing, but inside the wooden box is a large wooden cylinder with screws protruding from the surface that grabs and grind the apple. It is run with a little motor and a belt that turns the cylinder.
The ground apples get put into a mesh bag and that goes inside this other ancient tool, the press. The handle is slowly screwed down and the cider comes out through a hole in the bottom.
We ran out of plastic jugs, which were purchased from the orchard, with lots of apples to go…
So we started filling one of those five gallon water cooler bottles.
We filled that entirely up and still had a few more pitchers worth of cider.
All in all — and I could be wrong about this — I think we made about 25 or 30 gallons of cider.It lasts about a week in the fridge since there is nothing but pure apple juice in the bottles. But it freezes really well.
So, I’ve got my cider and Joel gets his bread. The only question is. How much and for how long do I provide him bread before I am, once again, ahead?