Saturday 17 September 2022

Cider Day 2022

New record! Today we gathered 200 apples and made 11 litres of apple juice. Our production this year was made much, much simpler and more pleasant with our new toy, the apple crusher. The apple crusher was a bit of a splurge, but this is our fifth cider season and I thought we deserved it. Making apple cider is hard physical work, and grinding up quarter apples in our temperamental blender and tiny food processor was the worst part. 

This year our operations were almost entirely outdoors, and although it was initially chilly, the sun shone throughout. I gathered up what good windfalls there were and then got to work picking apples from the tree. Benedict Ambrose assisted in this from a ladder; I enjoyed my annual climb among the branches. As we worked, we spotted a new neighbour on the other side of the tree--a hipster-looking young man with a big beard and a baby in a pram. The young man and then his wife ambled over after we hallooed at them; we encouraged them to make the most of the apples on their side. (They were, in fact, already doing this.) For some reason, our neighbours to our left and right seemed to think they need our permission to take the apples hanging over their gardens.) 

Apples got, we washed and counted them in the bathroom, and then  B.A. lugged them back outdoors in a large blue IKEA bag. I followed to cut the big ones in halves--and cut the badly bruised bits out--and B.A. took great delight in turning the wheel of the apple crusher. At one point we decided to let me cut all the apples before we crushed any more, and I got B.A. to sing me "The Apple Tree Carol." We both got a bit choked up. Point to 17th century Protestant hymnists. 

Apples crushed, B.A. assembled the press, and we made guesses on how much of the thick red-brown apple juice we would get. We thought nine and hoped for ten, and so we were delighted when we got just over eleven. We drank the "just over" bit and it was utterly delicious--sweet and flavoursome, tasting uniquely of our own apples. Meanwhile, I drank a bottle of last year's cider--which B.A. thought was too sweet--as B.A. pressed away. The elimination of the food processor chore had really filled him with energy.

After that we began the labour of washing, disassembling and storing everything. I had two cups of coffee and then set about turning 3 pounds of particularly battered windfalls into apple pie filling. Now there is apple crumble in the oven, and eleven litres of juice in the sitting room awaiting de-yeasting and re-yeasting. 

UPDATE (October 16): We bottled it late (yesterday, October 15), adding 50 g sugar to each of the 2 demijohns a few hours beforehand so that the second fermentation will happen in the bottles. We filled 20 bottles (a record) and a glass from the bottom of each demijohn. Somehow B.A. was able to separate the cider in the glasses from the lees (dead yeast), and it was quite delicious. 


  1. Great looking cider! My family owns a US-Civil-War-era cider press, though the wooden aspects have been replaced more recently. It looks similar to your apple crusher. The cider press still works well, though we have only made cider occasionally. The last time was in 2017. It is worth the effort, though!

  2. How wonderful to have your own apple tree! I also love that carol, it's a favourite. The words bring me to tears!