Every year in late October or early November, my family gathers at my folk's house for our annual cider press. It's one of my favorite fall traditions and today's press did not disappoint! It was a day filled with laughter, comfort foods, crisp sunshine and sticky apple fingers that resulted in over 12 gallons of fresh pressed cider.
Here's how it all works!
We start by collecting apples from my parent's trees. We pick them off the trees or off the ground.
Next, the apples go through a rinsing process. We float them in a big pail of water that contains a little bit of bleach to kill off any icky germs. Then they take a dip in fresh water and are placed on a grate to dry off.
Once they have been rinsed and dried, we cut the big ones in half or quarters so they don't clog the chopper. This is my Mom and Aunt Cheri taking a turn at the cutting table.
The sliced apples then go into the chopper to be ground up into tiny bits. This year my Uncle Jerry souped-up the motor with extra horse power so it worked faster (and louder) than ever. There were a number of scenes like this today where the men stood around the machine talking about "more power" just like an episode of Tool Time.
When the press is filled with chopped up apples, we squish!!
Juice starts pouring out of the press right away and we catch it in big bowls.
Some of the chopped apple pieces and other apple sludge get carried into the juice so we filter it through a few layers of cheesecloth into recycled containers that we've saved throughout the year.
Then we line up all of our containers and admire our hard work! Oh and of course we sample the goods throughout the day. Yummmmy!
It's not all hard work though. We also take breaks for some other fun throughout the day like cuddling our hubbies...
...and eating warm and tasty grub! Check out this spread of mac & cheese, coleslaw, pickled veggies. fruit salad, pulled pork sliders and corn soufflé!!
My Mom set up a Halloween version of an Easter Egg hunt this year - a BODY PART hunt!! There were eyeballs, ears and fingers hid around the property for the kids to find (plastic of course).
Can you spot the hidden eyeball in this picture?? It took the girls a while to find. It wasn't really at "eye-level", so to speak :)!!
The cider gods definitely shined on us today with beautiful weather and a hearty crop of apples that made delicious juice. It was the perfect fall day.
I hope you're enjoying autumn too!!