Last year we had enough apples on our trees to make ONE apple pie, this year we had more apples than the past ten years combined! What better thing to do with an over abundance of apples than make cider! We borrowed a cider press from a friend and spent three evenings pressing cider. In the end we ended up with around 25 gallons of cider. If you're in the market for a good cider press, click here. This is the one we've used for a few years, it's quick and easy to use. Be sure to get the motor, it's well worth it.
First step, while you set up the pressing "station" have your kids pick lots of apples. It's more fun to pick the ones up high. :)
Once your tote is full give them a good rise. The apples Amelia is washing are Yellow Delicious, our personal favorite for making cider. We've also used, Red Delicious, Minnesota Jonathon, Jonathon and Granny Smith???. The Yellow Delicious are the sweetest. If you like a nice mix of sweet and tart try mixing Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious and Jonathons.
Next step is to grind the apples for pressing. We toss them in as fast as we can and this motorized grinder keeps up. I suggest waiting until the end of the season when the apples are sweetest and juiciest. Make you pies early with the apples are a little on the tart side and more crisp.
When the basket is about 3/4 full, pop on the lid and start pressing. If you don't have an abundance of apples press in small amounts you'll be able to get more juice. (We use a mesh pressing bag inside the wooden tub, it saves a lot apple chunks from getting in the cider.)
The juice starts to flow, now is the time for the first sample of cider! This is Yellow Delicious cider, it starts out very light in color but quickly turns darker. The variety of apple makes a difference in what color the cider ends up being.
Next we strain out any bits of apple that made it through the press. You can get nice, fine strainers at Brew Supply stores which will keep out all the foam and apple bits much better. We we didn't have that and ended up using our regular kitchen strainer this time, it worked fine.
Finally, sit by the heater and enjoy and fresh cup of cider.