I have to admit, I really struggled with the title of this post. I know there's a pun there somewhere. It's probably somewhere between some sort of Cider House Rules reference and a quote from an athlete about how they suck because they're pressing too hard. But I blew it.
cider press. Well, yesterday I joined up with our friends over at Redsneck and a few other family members and put it to use. Turns out this year's weather has been rough on apples like it's been rough on just about everything else- my hops included. So my lovely wife was able to procure for us a whole bushel of apples (sensing sarcasm?). There's a fine mix here of golden delicious and Granny Smith's. The woman at the orchard suggests mixing a sweet and a tart and since that's all they had available, that's what we went with.
Making cider is actually a pretty simple process. We took it in two steps.
So that's step 1. Now that the apples are crushed, you put them in the press and push the juice out. We used a brewing bucket to catch our treasure.
From this point it's just a matter of filtering- I suggest cheesecloth and bottling. We moved from one bucket to another to filter and then back to the bottling bucket because it has a spigot. I used the spigot to fill cleaned out gallon jugs and we were all set. I half filled these jugs because we were splitting the haul 4 ways. For $26 we turned a bushel of apples into 3 gallons of cider. So we've got some refining to do to beat the store prices, but it was a fun time and there's nothing like fresh cider.
Since this is a brewing site and I do enjoy the opportunity to tip one back, I'll throw in a bonus tip. If you mix 3 parts cider with 1 part bourbon you will not be disappointed. Trust me.