Sunday, 27 September 2009

Making Cider

The Pomona Travelling Cider press visited Mapperton today. They set up at the big house, along with a host of plant nurseries and sellers. I was so excited about making my own juice that I was first in line when he opened for business.

I scrumped a few buckets of choice cider apples (thank you Rupert!) from the orchard where the horses live -
Then we tipped them into the waterbath to remove debris, earwigs, and ladybugs -
Then I fed the clean(ish) apples through the chute where they were chopped up into a pulp, ready for pressing -
Then I tipped my bucket of pulp into a cheesecloth pressed between boards. This is called the "cheese" -
The "cheese" is made of quite a few layers of pulp -
Then I lowered the press on top of the cheese and squeezed all the juice out into a big container -
Then I bottled it -
And sat down to enjoy a fresh glass of my own sweet cider!
I have kept half the juice back to make hard cider which, if all goes well, should be ready by next summer. The rest has gone in the freezer so we can enjoy fresh juice even when our trees are bare. I have earmarked one bottle for the Thanksgiving table and one bottle for Christmas. The biggest bottle will go as part of our contribution to the village's Harvest Supper.

With all the visitors in the village today, I put my surplus chicken eggs at the bottom of the driveway and sold out in the first hour. I only charge 60p a half dozen which I'm told is cheap (no pun intended) but I never have any go unsold, and it pretty much pays for the chickens' feed so I'm happy. This morning's egg sale paid for the cider too. Just occasionally, things just seem to work out right.


Pomona said...

That is very cheap! £1 is the standard round here, which is what we charge - and I don't think we are making any profit at all out of hens, unfortunately! The Head Chef hankers after a cider press, but Bramleys are a bit too sharp, I think - the juice is really too sharp to drink unmixed. But a very distinguished name for the travelling press, I think!

Pomona x

Jennifer Montero said...

I thought you might find that interesting! I made all Bramley apple juice last year and it was tart, which is why I mixed it with cider varieties this year.

Cider presses are soooo expensive. Perhaps you and interested neighbors could buy it as a collective and open the press to the local population once a year? The press today charged £2.50 per 2 buckets of apples, BYO containers. I don't know it would be a huge moneymaker, but may offset the cost over time.

Or head chef could become chief engineer and build you one from scratch?!?

What do you do with your Bramleys mainly?

I should up my egg prices but I'm too lazy to change my sign, and as I said, it really does pay for the feed (until we have meat chickens that is!)


Poppy Cottage said...


Wow! Sounds like a busy day for you (again!) You never seem to stop!

Found the missing bit so it hould be with you this week.

Colette x

Pomona said...

We were hoping to sell the Bramleys straight off the tree, but the market is non-existent, so they have gone into store - which of course incurs a cost. So we will be lucky to make anything. We freeze as many as possible, and have bottled some for inhouse use. And there are a few left on the trees which we will gradually use. Because it is not cider country round here, and non-commercial orchards are rare, I am not sure if there would be many takers for hiring a press. Very many of the orchards in Kent were grubbed when there were MAFF grubbing grants some years ago.

Pomona x