Oh sweet cider how I love thee. Today’s project was to press 5 gallons of fresh cider to can up for later in the year. Considering how late in the year it is, the choice of apple varieties was dwindling down the winter apple varietles. I probably shouldn’t have used the entire 25 gallons that I had pressed earlier for hard cider, but it is so delicious that I couldn’t help myself. The easiest apple for us to get is a variety called Ben Davis. It is a small crisp apple that when you first press it is a pinkish color. Kinda reminds me of pink lemonade in color. This is a great apple to eat as a snack. This variety was first recorded in the early 19th century. It was one of the best storage apples of the era. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to find in a store. I have heard that Detering orchard sells them, but I have never been there to check. My father likes to quote “Many a captain’s fortune were made with this apple
Unlike the old apple presses that were all hand powered, we used Dad’s electric crusher and manual press. Makes the process much much easier. First you run the apples whole through the crusher which cuts them up into dime sized pieces. A five gallon bucket will fill up the hopper. Then add the press plate on top of the crushed apples and place it under the corkscrew. Then twist away until you cant twist no more. Five gallons of apples will average about a gallon of cider. This variety gave us a bit more then average. 3 1/2 buckets got us our five gallons of cider that we were after. After that it was home to let it settle and start the canning process.
Things to do with apple cider or apples: