My friends received an apple cider press for a wedding present long ago. Last week, they threw an Apple Cider Press Party, and what a treat!
Have you ever tasted apple cider fresh from the press (your own or a local cider mill)? WOW! The cider has a pure, refreshing flavor that's hard to beat.
Frankly, I was never crazy about apple cider before. However, I humbly revise my opinion. The difference between the taste of pasteurized, filtered grocery store cider and homemade cider is remarkable. With the cider press, we're talking 30 seconds from press to glass.
For the uninitiated (formerly, yours truly), an apple cider press is a machine that essentially grinds up the apples into pulp and then presses the juices out.
In colonial days, it was common for farmers and families to own a barreled cider press (and in those days, the cider was often left to ferment and become an alcoholic "hard" cider). Today, I have a feeling that the old-fashioned cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.
Here’s how the pressing process works:
Start with a wheelbarrow of apple drops (fallen apples). Find less-than-perfect apples on the ground at any orchard or old apple farm. (Discard any rotten ones, though.) Blast the apples with a hose to wash them off.
First, you feed the apples into the hopper at the top of the press.
Next, folks take turns turning the crank to grind the fruit into a pulp, called mast.
As soon as enough apples are ground up, you turn the pressing plate down on the pulp to free up the juices, which trickle into a container below the press.
Finally, just pour the sweet liquid into empty glasses or plastic jugs and drink. (Watch out for any drunken bees who ended up in the jug!)
- Add some cider donuts, and you're in heaven.
What a fun time! Cider pressing is a great occasion for friends and family to get together on a fall day. The kids—of all ages—had a blast cranking the press.
If you have the inclination, find (or make) a cider press and throw your own Autumn Harvest Party next year!
Anyone else a cider fan? Or, own a cider press? Or, just find this subject interesting? Please post a comment below.
Catherine, our New Media Editor, joined The Old Farmer's Almanac in 2008. She edits content on both this Web site, Almanac.com, and the companion site to The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids publication, Almanac4kids.com. She also pens the Almanac Companion enewsletters and keeps up with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!