"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Favorite Time of the Year

Apple cider time. We pressed our first batch of cider yesterday, and as usual, it kicked my butt. My knees and hips and ankles ache like murder. I always forget just what hard work it is to press cider - and I don't even pick the apples!

Last week I put an ad on Craigslist asking for apples and offering to split any cider 50/50, and several people have answered. There is generally a glut of apples in this area, as in most semi-rural areas, I believe. So many old homesteads and large suburban lots have three or four or more apples trees, generally planted long ago enough to be fully mature but not yet old enough to be in decline, which means bumper crops of apples. Most of these apples fall to the ground and rot, attracting wasps and slugs and generally littering up the landscape. Few people make full use of their apples. I never did, back when I lived in the city and had only two trees.

Of course, many of these trees are neglected and produce small, scabby apples, but that doesn't matter when it comes to cider. The apples can be just as ugly as you please and still make a delicious product. Yesterday a guy came over with two garbage cans full of apples and we washed them in the kiddie pool and pressed them in my old motorized press, which I had previously hauled out of the falling down shed we call the "Parthenon" and scrubbed and bleached to within an inch of it's life.

We made about eight gallons of cider, and then we had to stop because we ran out of containers. There are still about half a barrel of apples outside. Today I made applesauce and I guess I will make some more tomorrow, but my guess is many of those apples will end up on the compost heap. The chickens and the goats will eat them, so it's not really a waste.

It was hot and sunny while we worked and the yellow jackets were out in force, but they didn't bother us because they were all drunk on apple-mast. I plan to try again this year to make hard cider (last year's attempt was a dismal failure) but in the meantime I just bought a bottle of rum and if I want my apple cider alcoholic all I have to do is tilt my wrist.

Which I did, and I am enjoying the result as I write to you all. Hope you are enjoying your afternoon as much as I am.


Crunchy Chicken said...

Very cool. I've had failures with hard apple cider myself so I don't bother anymore. I think I might put an ad on Craigslist and see if there are any city fruit trees people are trying to unload.

Aimee said...

You're in Seattle, right? I have two trees in Ballard, but I haven't seen them this year (rental house) so I don't know how loaded they are.

Crunchy Chicken said...

I'm in Ballard. What kind o' trees are they and are your renters using the fruit?

Aimee said...

Howdy, neighbor! I have a melrose and a gravenstein. One of them produces a good crop every year and the other produces a good crop every other year - don't know if this is an on year or an off year. I doubt very much if my renters are using them, because they didn't even use the gorgeous bing cherries off the cherry tree! Can you imagine letting bings go to waste? I can call my renter and ask him how the trees look and then if you are interested, shoot me an e-mail to my private e-mail address aimeeday1972@yahoo.com and I'll tell you exactly where they are.

~Tonia said...

Maybe thats what I should do too!! I was thinking about getting apples to process for butter and sauce.. They arent really ripe her yet though.
I replied to your comment on my blog But it wasa different addy then the one you put up here. Let me know if you get it or not.

Ivy said...

First time here at your blog as I was looking for apple varieties. However, I could not read the names of the apples in the pictures. I have read a lot of your posts and your life is very interesting and what you do is admirable for us city girls!

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