Back when we were beefing up our preparations for Y2k, someone told us that buried chest freezers work really well for storing apples over the cold winter. So we hunted down a couple of broken freezers, buried them in the backyard and filled them with apples. We put bales of straw over the top to help insulate the contents. The apples kept very well through the winter.
A couple years later, we were, for some reason, not storing apples through the winter and I decided to pull the freezers out. Too bad. Now that I have perfected my homestead cidermaking system, we could be pressing our own stored apples for cider all winter.
That would be the ideal situation. Seems to me that it would make sense to press a few gallons of cider at a time, instead of a lot at once and freezing it. This is especially the case when you realize that, with my Whizbang cidermaking equipment, it's a simple thing to grind apples and press the juice out of the mash right inside the house. In fact, when it is cold outside, it makes perfect sense to make cider right in your kitchen.
A few days ago I posted THIS ESSAY telling (and showing) you all about my Whizbang cidermaking system. In that essay, my press was outside. This morning, I made cider in our kitchen. It worked out just fine, as you can see from the following pictures.
In the above picture, you can see the Whizbang cider press on the left in the background. On the right is my Whizbang apple grinder. Both tools are light enough and sized such that they can be easily carried into the house from my shop, where they are normally stored.
In the foreground are the apples. I am particular about washing the apples I use to make cider. Apple washing was easily done at the kitchen sink. Then I piled the washed fruit on the kitchen table. A bushel of apples was given to us by a friend. They were sound and good tasting but looked absolutely terrible on the outside. That's because they came from a tree that was not sprayed with pesticides and other poisons. Unsprayed apples from old trees are ideal for cider. I did, however, inspect them carefully and cut out numerous bad spots. All apples need to be cut in half or quarters anyway so they will fit into the apple grinder. Cutting the apples is easily and quickly accomplished with a big, sharp knife.
By the time my son, Robert, woke up this morning, I had the apples cut and ready to grind. The picture above shows him feeding the fruit into the grinder.
Looking down on the action, you can see Robert's hand is ablur, and the pails below are quickly filling up with the very fine apple mash.
The above picture shows the Whizbang Cider Press. The wood-slat tub is filled with pulp and the car jack is exerting pressure on it all. The sweet cider is filling the pan on the floor.
That's a top-down view of the press in action. Robert is getting a taste of fresh, wholesome cider, right out of the apple. No preservatives. No additives. Just pure cider.
Today, after pressing the pulp down some, I took the car jack out and substituted a six-ton bottle jack. I think the bottle jack exerts more pressure than the scissors jack. But the scissors jack does a fine job by itself.
Today's cider yield, from approximately 1.5 bushels of apples, was 4 gallons and a couple of cups. That was a little bit less than the last time I made cider. The reason for less cider was the apples from our friend were not as juicy. But the end result is still very delicious.
Making cider right in our kitchen was convenient and easy to do. There was far less mess to clean up than you might think. I thought about spreading a tarp on the kitchen floor but it was not really needed.
Right after Thanksgiving I will start working on putting together plans for making my Whizbang apple grinder and cider press. If all goes well, these plans will be available in March or April of next year. That'll give you plenty of time to get your own equipment made for cider season next year.
UPDATED INFORMATION....March 2009
My book, Anyone Can Build A Whizbang Apple Grinder And Cider Press is now in print. Full details and much more home cidermaking information can be found at www.Whizbang Cider.com
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