Here are some photos of a New England afternoon that we spent with a bunch of apples and a cider press. I've found that every cider press is different. But the process always involves the same basic steps--grind up the apples, then squeeeeeeze.
First, we sorted the apples. Discard any that are rotten, buggy, squishy or otherwise icky. These apples came from my mother's tree and we think they're MacIntosh. We put them in a milk crate and hosed them off to remove dirt and large bugs. (Small bugs just get mixed in... protein, right?!)
Next, the apples go into what I'll call the "hopper."
For this unit, we had a big wooden pusher or pestle to help move the apples toward the wheel. One person pokes the apples with the pestle, and the other cranks.
The wheel inside the hopper has teeth and tears up the apples as it is hand-cranked from the outside. (See top-right for cranking action.)
The bits of apple fall into the orange cooler set underneath.
The next step is to SQUEEZE the torn-up apples to extract the cider. The pieces are poured into a barrel-type thing. They're held in a cloth bag that is then folded in. 2 wooden pieces are fitted on top to form the main pressing surface.
Then, more pieces of wood are stacked on so that the jack will be high enough.
Finally, the jack is screwed on top and the next round of cranking can begin.
The handle is spun around.
And cider comes out the bottom!
Here's a shot of the whole press, including the cool dairy container we caught the cider in.
I didn't get a photo of this, but there was one more step where we filtered the cider through a tea-towel/colander into a large metal bowl. Then, it was ready to drink!
Big thanks to P&M for having us over for a fabulous Saturday afternoon of cidermaking, followed by an amazing Indian dinner. We got 2 gallons of cider to take home, and it's delicious. (Especially with a little 10-Cane rum poured in. My favourite...)
Also thanks to Wandering Chopsticks for advice on how to frame and watermark my photos! This is my first post using Flickr and I hope it looks good...