We try to ensure none of the fruit and vegetables from our garden are wasted. As a result, this year we decided to press our apples (well half) for both cider and apple juice!
Worried what it would taste like, we didn't want to invest in the mill and press to find out we really didn't like it. This was when we stumbled across The Little Cider Press Company near Ledbury. They have a number of pressing days you can attend, where they will show you how to press your apples and lend you the equipment to do so.
We set to work.......stage one (other than obviously picking the apples) is to wash them
Stage two, crush the apples
Stage three, press the apples.....I was amazed at just how juicy they were!
Then time for a cheeky little taste!! YUM!! So sweet and so tasty!!
The forth and final step before taking the juice home, filter it into containers
This is were you add the ascorbic acid if you are making apple juice rather than cider......it gives your juice that golden colour rather rather than the brown colour you see when you leave your apple open to the air.
We left with 75L of juice to make cider and approximately 20L of apple juice to pasteurise along with a definite recommendation that you shouldn't waste your apples......once you have had enough of crumbles and pies and your freezer is full........juice them!
I am new to this whole process but as I understand it, it is best to pasteurise your juice as soon as possible but within the week of juicing it. Pasteurising involves heating the juice in bottles, placed in a water bath, up to 70-75degC. Be sure to leave a gap at the top of the bottle when filling, as the juice will expand when heated. Once the temperature has been reach, it's time to remove the bottles from the water bath and pop the lids on. Then leave it to cool down.....this takes a while. Make sure you choose bottles with a good seal!
As for the juice for making cider.....that is in the barn with its airlock installed fermenting away. It won't be ready for drinking until about April/May next year! I will keep you posted on its progress!