All around my neighborhood, I see several apple trees laden with ripe fruits, ready to be picked. Apple harvest season has begun. Usually, the best apples get eaten fresh or cooked into pies and sauces. But what does one do with the misshapen ones or the slightly bruised ones? Those ‘not-so perfect’ apples may not be good enough to eat, but are still full of delicious juice. If you ask me, it’s time to rent a cider press, gather your neighbors, and throw an apple pressing party!
Apple pressing is what I did this past weekend at Seattle Tilth’s Harvest Fair. As a volunteer for the Urban Farm exhibit, I helped landscape designer, Ingela Wanerstrand setup her cider press for making fresh apple cider. City Fruit donated tons of apples harvested from apple trees in local parks and neighborhoods.
Apples donated by City Fruit
It was really cool to see the assembly line setup where apples were triple washed, cut and fed into the crusher. Kids lined up to turn the wheel and crush the apples into a mush. The nylon mesh bag that held this mush was then pressed to squeeze the fresh juice into a container. This juice can be consumed as is or can be turned into spiced cider.
I also learnt that the leftover pulp, known as pomace, can be a healthy food source for farm animals such as goats. As people crowded around to see the demonstration, Ingela answered their questions on different varieties of apples, on growing them, on pasteurizing the apple cider and so on. The cider press can be rented from any local brewery. In Seattle, they are available at Bob’s Homebrew Supply and Miller’s Rent-All.