The trees are loaded with apples. Many that have gone wild or live in abandoned orchards overtaken by forest are heavy with fruit. And many of my organic locavore friends have seized the opportunity to not only harvest from their own trees but are gleaning from “wild” places. Getting together for an apple pressing party gives everybody something to do. From picking, to washing cutting up the apples, young and old alike can participate in this fun activity.
The great thing is that you only need to invest in one cider press and if you have a great friend as I have, Adrianne Picciano (locally known as The Dirt Diva) you can borrow the press. Calling in neighbors and friends to come over, bring apples if they have them, or just to share in the fun. Everybody gets to take home delicious, unsprayed apple cider, usually a medley of apple varieties that lend an exotic taste to the beverage.
Setting up the assembly line to the press is part of the process. First we give the apples a bath in a weak solution of white vinegar and pure well water. The next step is a rinse in plain water. The next step is culling out any really bad apples and cutting out any really bad spots which go into buckets under the table (to be recycled as compost, chicken food or forage for the deer)Kids learn to use knives properly in cutting up the apples into chunks which are dumped into the press. The excitment of tasting the first of the year’s harvest has got to be memorable to a child, and even some of us “older” folks.
And what to do with all that cider? Why hard cider of course! Organic apple cider vinegar! I am thinking apple kombucha these days as well!