Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple Juice

Jim's folks have owned an apple juice press for a lot of years. When our kids were little, we juiced nearly every year but the press has been idle for quite awhile now. This fall when we asked around if anyone wanted 'in' on juicing, we got some takers.

Here's Jim picking Spartans in the orchard of a guy he works with. He drove around with a pickup load of apples (about 840 pounds) for almost a week. Saturday he and Dawn picked Red Delicious apples, bringing home about 300 pounds. Breanne brought apples from her tree as well. We find we like a blend better than all one kind.

Today was juice pressing day. Quite cold, but thankfully very sunny and not windy. Here Hanna and Barbara run the grinder. The apples go in whole and are pushed against a spinning drum studded with nails using a wooden paddle.

Apple pulp comes out the bottom. See all the boxes of apples in the back of the truck awaiting their turn!

From there the pulp gets layered into the press itself, about 12 cups into each cloth, which is then folded, another set of slats put on top, repeated until all six of the cloths are loaded.

Then a small jack is placed in the press to squeeze the juice down into a bucket waiting to catch it. Here Breanne is running the jack.

Want to see the full scale?

Yes, the gang filled all three of those garbage cans (kept only for this purpose!) with fresh pressed apple juice. From here, it was divvied up for each family. Some have freezer space and poured the juice into empty pop bottles and milk jugs to freeze, leaving lots of space for expansion. And some of us are going to can the juice.

Is home-pressed juice worth doing? Well, it IS a lot of work. But here's one small person's opinion: