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Apple cider making

October 10, 2012

Random fact about me–I am an apple cider NUT! Every fall, I go crazy for that sweet-tart liquid gold, both cold and hot. I feel like its been crazy expensive this year (anyone else?) but I still can’t resist buying a half-gallon pretty much every week. To my absolute delight, John and I had the chance to MAKE some this week at Hungry Turtle Farm and Learning Center’s Festival of Farms in Amery, Wisconsin.

Hungry Turtle happens to be my sister Erica’s place of employment, and she was the coordinator of the festival, so naturally we were asked to volunteer! The Festival of Farms was a first-time event focused on celebrating local foods and farm culture. The festival featured amazing food, games and kids activities, tours, a wool spinner, an accordionist, and much more.  We showed up  not knowing what our volunteer responsibilities would be, but a mere five minutes after our arrival, we were quickly trained in to man the apple cider press!

Cider making, besides being ridiculously fun, is also very easy. Step 1: Start with some apples. These beauts were from White Pine Apple Orchard near River Falls, WI.

Step 2: Recruit some willing volunteers, preferably mini-volunteers, to toss some apples into the grinder.

Step 3: Crank the wheel on the side of the machine to grind up the apples, core and all.

The crushed apples will drop through the bottom into a mesh-lined basket.

Step 4: When the basket is full, cover with the wooden lid, then begin the pressing process. This is done by turning the wheel on the top of the press, thus pushing down the wooden lid and compressing the apples toward the bottom of the basket. Our friend Renee took a turn, and as the picture shows, it is by far easier to use a board to help turn the wheel.

A two person approach also works well, as shown by more mini-volunteers!

The end result looks like this:

The cider runs through the slats in the bottom of the basket. Step 5: Catch the cider in a pot placed under the cider press.

Step 6: DRINK UNBELIEVABLE AMOUNTS OF APPLE CIDER!!! We were able to drink the cider literally 1 minute post pressing, and it was fantastic.  We were asked a number of times what made it apple cider rather than apple juice, and we determined that apple juice is more processed and clarified than apple cider (which begs the question–why is cider so much more expensive???) I can only imagine how delish this stuff would be made into mulled cider.

Overall, it was such a beautiful fall day. I wish I had more pictures of the rest of the festival,  but we were kept pretty busy with the cider. Also, there are no pictures of me because John couldn’t peel himself away from the machine long enough to take my picture. 😉

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 10, 2012 3:03 am

    Ahhh! Great post! So glad you guys were there!

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