Wednesday 4 October 2017

Apple pressing time

In the regular annual cycle on the smallholding it's apple pressing time again. This year we have had rather a poor crop from most of our apple trees. I suspect this is due to the long dry period we had in the spring which may have affected the fruit setting after pollination. There was no June drop as there was nothing to drop. Luckily enough we were able to supplement our supplies of apples from a smallholder friend who has an established apple orchard. The other day we went over to his and collected a large quantity of windfalls to bring home for processing. 

Some of the apples for pressing
Equipment set up

Yesterday afternoon was assigned for pressing the apples to extract the juice. They were roughly chopped, put through a scratter to mince them up and then the resulting pulp was pressed using a hand fruit press. The squeezed out pulp has been reserved as a treat for the pigs, hens and turkeys.

Scratter fixed to a stand with
built-in chopping board
Some of the finished

We strain the juice through a kitchen sieve then put it through some muslin when we bottle it. It's ready to drink with nothing extra added. For future consumption the bottles are then put in the freezer. This year we have attempted to pasteurise some of the juice filled bottles in the oven at its lowest setting for 30 minutes. The hope is that they will store well kept in a cool garage. We will see.

I also started off a demijohn of cider. I'll add to this after our next pressing session.

In total we produced about 15 litres of juice yesterday afternoon. We rewarded our labours by glugging back a glass of the freshly pressed apple juice which was exceedingly enjoyable and rich in flavour.


  1. Please will you write about your cider making on a blog post? I remember buying a gallon plastic container of Scrumpy at Glastonbury Festival in 1989 and there were chunks of wood swimming around in it.

  2. Hi Dave, I know cider making is a more rough and ready process compared to wine and beer but I wouldn't have expected to find bits of wood in the finished product! I'm no expert and follow a simple process for cider. I'll see if I can write about how I go about it.