Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pickin' & Pressin'

Back in Ohio my grandparents have a lovely fruit orchard. Come fall it's a family tradition to congregate for some homemade soup, an evening of apple picking, and possibly the occasional apple fight! We stand in the back of trucks, on ladders, on ladders IN the back of trucks, on buckets, on tractors... you name it... whatever it takes to get the job done! We all know what the final product will be, so we just keep pick picking away! Next it's on to the apple press to make some of the BEST cider known to man!! Our wedding happened to be after picking & pressing time so we were blessed to serve some of G & G's yummy cider to our guests. Even after all these years, people still comment on how tasty it was!

My family is generous enough to save a gallon or two for when we visit... but this year we thought we'd try bringing a "taste of home" to the north! 

First off... pick the apples! 
This poor tree had an "owey" and one of the limbs was quite severed, so a portion of our apple picking was spent on our bums... sounds like hard work, I know!

We transported the apples to a farm family up the road to have them pressed. They typically only press for family and friends but were super generous when we asked if we could come give it a go!

Next, spread out the apples on a metal grate and give 'em a good hose down... and maybe the cat too, while you're at it!

After the apples are sparkling clean, they are brought over to the press and loaded into this wooden box. 

This is a two man job... one guy loads it up and the other guy cranks the wheel to chop up the apples.

Once the bucket is full of itty bitty apple pieces...

... it's time to press the juice out!

Mmmm.... slowly but surely each bucket is filled with sweet golden yumminess!

We simply put the cider into square plastic ice cream pails and then popped them straight into the freezer when we got home! 

Time to load, rinse and repeat the process... 

... with lots more apples!

Alia (and her baby, Blueberry Muffin) were self appointed foremen. They made sure everybody knew there was work to do and that there was no standing around for her crew! Though, by now she's quite used to seeing her mama with a little black box in front of her nose doing... pretty much nothing... so she let me get away with a less than desired workload!

It was getting dark and bedtime was quickly approaching... but the girls were SO eager & willing to help wherever they could! A little too eager, perhaps... a gallon of cider was lost when little Larren tried loading it in the box all by her lonesome. Her spirit was willing but her flesh was just too weak!

Sadly, this cider didn't hold a candle in the wind compared to G & G's! It happened to be on the tart/sour side of life... let's just say we've already learned a lesson in which apples are for pie making and which are for cider! We're looking forward to starting this fun fall family tradition with our little clan... though I gotta say... after 8 gallons of tart cider it might take a little more convincing for next year!

** Thanks again T & K for all the apples! We'll keep that tree for pies and the south tree for cider next time! **

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