Apple Cider Day is the Best Day

23 Sep
Wow Becky.  I love the creative ways you are using your apples.  Usually I just get stuck in one of three routes:  apple pie, apple sauce and apple pie.  Whoops.  I forgot a fourth – apple cider.

This press is so old, the pallet is in two pieces and has to be held together as the crank descends.

Apple cider is flat-out my favorite holiday of the year.  What’s this?  You’ve never heard of apple cider day?  Okay, maybe it’s just a Bailey family tradition, but it’s one I think we all should celebrate.  I do honestly believe that if we could set aside our differences and band together in a pursuit of still-warm-from-the-sun, fresh-squeezed, direct from the apple, unpasteurized cider, this country would be a better place.  Come to an apple cider day celebration and you will agree with me, I promise. 

Ingredients Needed:

Several bushels of apples of many varieties, sweet and tart (windfalls and ‘seconds’ preferred)!

Wash tub and water

Paring knives for trimming

Apple grinder, well cleaned

Farm animals i.e. sheep, horse, goat, pig, etc. (for eating apple scraps)

Cider Press with all of the accoutrements (in this case, an antique lard press, actually)

Cheese cloth

Bucket with spigot, OR the tools for making a siphon (a rubber tube, a mouth and the know-how)

Zoe’s Grandpa (sorry, that’s just the way it is).

Spend an afternoon sitting around a giant washtub with friends and family, making conversation, and trimming out the worst of worms and rot from less than perfect apples.  Separate out trimmings, and feed to sheep as your tub becomes full and the water murky.

Pass trimmed apples off to the family member who most loves loud noises.  Said family member will send apple bits through the apple grinder.  The apple grinder sounds a bit like a death rattle, and produces a mucus-y, chunky substance  of ground apples.  I call it ‘apple-barf,’ my aunt Margaret calls it beautiful.

Layer down wood pallet, pallet frame and cheese cloth.  Fill the frame with the beautiful barf, fold edges of cloth over, and repeat until you have used up your stack of pallets.  Then hand your grandpa a broom handle and watch him twirl the press crank.  Watch out, as a rusty crank is a good excuse for him to let some curse words fly.

As the crank turns, the juice will start to flow.  A second cheese cloth will filter out any stray apple bits, or fall leaves that have blown into the juice.

There you have it!  Just siphon or spigot into half and gallon jugs, and drink down as much as you can of this sweet nectar – because even if you are this lucky,you only get cider this good, and this alive, once a year.


Squeeze them apples!

Don’t have access to my grandpa, an antique lard press, actual cider press or any of the necessary farm animals?  An equivalently delicious drink could be made using apples and a fruit juicer.  But who likes to do things the easy way?  The challenge, elbow grease (along with actual grease from the press crank), make this cider even better.


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