Monday, September 10, 2012


For the uninitiated (formerly, yours truly), an apple cider press is a machine that essentially grinds up the apples into pulp and then presses the juices out.
In colonial days, it was common for farmers and families to own a barreled cider press (and in those days, the cider was often left to ferment and become an alcoholic "hard" cider). Today, I have a feeling that the old-fashioned cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.

Gearing up for a gathering at our place this weekend so I picked and pressed a few gallons worth of apple cider from our trees around the yard.  We've got four varieties of trees in season right now and a fifth  a  yellow transparent is a well-known early summer apple, good for drying, freezing, sauce, juice and wine. Transparent pale yellow skin. Crisp, light-textured, juicy flesh. Very sweet flavor. Not good storer.  That is already past.

 The four we have now are Red Delicious is one of the most famous American apples, and one of the most widely grown apple varieties and is basically sweet apple
The McIntosh style is typified by attractive crimson color and a crunchy bite, often with bright white flesh. The flavor is simple and direct, generally sweet but with refreshing acidity, and usually a hint of wine - often referred to as "vinous".  In general these apples keep reasonably well in store, but the flavor falls away quite rapidly - although remaining perfectly pleasant.  Nevertheless to get the full vinous sugar rush it is best straight from the tree. 

Our Wolf River.
A well-known American cooking apple, notable for its large size.  Wolf River is mainly used for cooking, and it keeps its shape when cooked.  It is fairly sweet and doesn't need much sugar added.
Wolf River has a very high natural resistance to the disease apple scab, and good resistance to fireblight and mildew.  It is also very cold hardy, making it a good choice for growing in the northern part of North America.

 And my favorite is the Jonagold Apple a controlled cross of New York's old and very well-respected Jonathan Apple with the popular and versatile Golden Delicious. Jonagold is a widely-grown American apple variety with a rich fragrant flavor that's the perfect mix of sweet goodness and lovely sharpness. 

The four varieties blended nicely to make an excellent cider which we can serve both hot or cold and maybe a batch of hard cider.  We'll see.

What a fun time! Cider pressing is a great occasion for friends and family to get together on a fall day. The kids—of all ages—had a blast cranking the press.
If you have the inclination, find  (or make) a cider press and throw your own Autumn Harvest Party next year!

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