Saturday, 18 September 2021

Apple Cider Day

It's the Fourth Annual Cider Squish here at St Benedict over the Apple Tree. This morning I picked a number of apples (and scraped my shin on a branch while clambering about), went to the beach for language exchange, and returned to pick more apples. This year I used a metal stick with a loop on one end, loaned by one of our neighbours. 

"I call it a fruit loop," he said. 

It was a lovely sunny day, so a good sprinkling of neighbours were outside gardening, tending their pigeons, and generally commenting on the apples and enjoying the sun. 

Despite the stick--which for the first time ever enabled me to get apples near the top (but not at the top) of the tree--I gathered only 14 kilograms of apples, which is to say about 130 apples. They produced 7 litres of juice, so now I know how much juice to expect per kilo. We may try for another 2 litres next weekend, collecting the remaining apples as they fall. On the other hand, we may not, as Benedict Ambrose looked very tired at the thought.

As usual, B.A. wore the green boiler suit he got from the Head Gardener at the Historical House some years ago. The green boiler suit is a sign that B.A. means to get right down to work, possibly in solidarity with the Workers. I feel that if General KoĹ›ciuszko were alive in Scotland today, he would put aside the lovely white coat of the peasant and don the green boiler suit. At any rate, when I got home from the beach, B.A. was in his boiler suit and had already sterilised the fermentation bin and screwed the apple press to a wooden pallet beside the veggie trug. 

B.A. cut up a bowl of apples while I was out getting more, but I managed to weigh them all anyway. We had a lot of trouble with our big food processor, which I mention because we checked this very blog to see if and how we fixed the problem last year. Sadly, I didn't go into that much detail. For the sake of next year, we have all the pieces, and we saw it had a 13 A fuse, and we simply don't know why it doesn't work. (Could it have been the fuse? We didn't try replacing that.) B.A. even took the food processor  downstairs to ask the neighbour, which shows how humble and sensible he is--actually asking another man for directions, as it were--but the neighbour was no longer in. So in the end we used the small food processor. I chopped, and B.A. ground. We filled a wash tub and two bowls with apple bits:

When we put the bits in the apple press, the juice came out eagerly, red-brown and fragrant. I hoped this was a sign we'd get more juice from fewer apples this year, but we did not. I expect that in the end we will have 14 half-litre bottles--unless of course I make 2 more litres of cider on the sly. 

What is more likely is that we will collect the fallen apples and make more crumble, pie, turnovers, strudel  and pancakes. The principal reason we have less juice this year is because we have been harvesting apples for a month. Last Sunday alone I picked 3 Kg for the strudel. This is what happens, I see, when cider-making gets delayed. However, we do not regret it, for we have enjoyed all the puddings. Learning how to make strudel was, as I probably mentioned, the fulfilment of a childhood dream. 

By the way, we did have one bottle left over from last year's harvest, and we drank it with friends after we finished pressing the apples from this year's. It was very appley, not too dry, quite satisfactory. 

 Notes to self:  1. We took a reading of 1.040. 2. I added 1.5 Campden tablets to the juice in the evening and mixed it in before putting the fermenting bin back in the bathroom cupboard. 3. Getting supper from the local Chinese takeaway is, according to B.A., one of our Cider Day traditions. 

No comments:

Post a Comment