Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Christmas Cider press

Forget Magners - try the Captain's Cider Press
October 2011

I have been having a bit of a dispute with Belle. We have several apple trees in the garden and having pruned and tended one particular specimen it now bears a heavy crop. However, eat them early and they are really bitter but leave them to sweeten up and their texture turns to flour. As a result they are left to rot on the ground year after year.

Bowl full of apples

Belle tried to convince me that these apples were worth eating but after a couple of attempts herself she had to accepted that they were a dead loss. And then foraging inspiration struck her - turn them into cider! The small issue of an absence of a mill, a press and demijohns passed her by and suddenly pages of instructions were pouring off the printer.

 The Captian's press in action

Actually, it wasn't a bad idea so a deal was struck. Belle figures out how to mill the apples and I work out how to extract the juice. 

Belle's blended mush

Belle's plans centred on her Moulinex blender, whilst I started to mull over ways of harnessing the considerable squeezing power of my two ton car jack. Add in a visit to Wilkinsons for sterilising powder, Campden tablets, yeast and demijohns and we were in business. Belle chopped, Jeff pumped the jack and I loaded the press which, just to bring in a boating link, was made from the old cupboard doors..

Pressed pulp - or is it pizza!

End result - 12 kilo's of apples converted into six litres of apple juice. Now it's a mere three months of fermentation and settling and it will be ready to drink, a little something special for Christmas. 

The end result - proto cider

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