Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cider Making

Heavy rain here in Wales today. I have to say that I'm not that sorry, we've had a dry year even if it's not been that warm a summer. More to the point I'm feeling a bit smug having completed the outdoor jobs that needed to be done before it started. Our new 'slug clearance squad' (AKA the ducks) are enjoying it as well.

 I got the apple pressing done on Thursday and it yielded 11 gallons, that was from two young trees and the fallers from a third. This is a mixture of Major, Early Red Jersey and Tom Putt. The first two varieties are about three weeks early and I find the sugar content is a bit low. All our apples are coming ripe early this year, most three or four weeks!

I will need to upscale my cider making equipment soon as the new trees come into production. My mill is a home made 'studded cylinder' type and was made to be pedal powered. However when I'm doing the pressing alone I hook it up to an old washing machine motor.

The pommace made by this mill is quite fine and I get a good juice recovery, in excess of 50% with cider varieties. I do find it helps, especially with non cider apples, to mill one day and press the next.

The wasps made the whole process more exciting than usual! This is a sure sign that I'm doing my pressing earlier than in previous years, usually they are gone. Above is a pic of the pommace as milled into the bucket and transfered to the drum of the press (also home made). Below is the whole press assembly.

It gives just over a gallon of juice per fill, so not bad for small scale or single variety work, but not big enough for serious work!

Just to the right of the press you can just see my latest find. A set of scales from a local auction house. They were billed as sack scales, but turn out to be old medical scales, fine by me, they'll weigh apples just as well! The interesting thing is when I looked up the maker they were made between 1871 and 1874. One hundred and fortyish years old. When I've refurbished them they'll be good for that again I would say.

The rains seems to have stopped now so I'd better get out and get on. Back soon.

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