Fresh apple juice

How many kids does it take to squeeze a few hundred pounds of apples in an afternoon?  How many litres does that make, divided by how many families, minus all that was drunken fresh from the spout?  well let’s see… I suppose that all equals a lot of fun and enthusiasm for celebrating the apples that grow up from the soil we stand on.

Our Spring Leaves group met with our friend George, to use his retro fitted apple press on a glorious fall day.  Retro fitted meaning that he updated the working parts of an old press that he found derelict and out of use.  We all got a lesson on putting it together, and on the steps involved in crushing and pressing.  There were plenty of jobs for everyone to get a chance to try out, requiring patience and teamwork from the youngest of our group to the adults.  First we load the apples into the small hopper box, then crank the wheel to turn the crusher below the hopper.  This sends the crushed apples through into the large barrel below.  When the barrel gets full, we place a lid on it, and then turn the handle above the hopper, which pushes down on the lid and squeezes the crushed apples.  Juice then begins to flow out the through the spaces in the barrel at the bottom, onto a stainless steel tray, and through a small hole into our catchment bowl below.  Then we empty out the dry apple pulp, and start again crushing apples into the barrel.  Each family brought containers to fill, and we all went home with 5 or 6 litres each of pure unpasturized juice, which we can freeze or can, plus as much apple pulp as we wanted for our composts or for our chickens.  It was heart warming to see the kids connect so easily to the process of transformation, from trees in our backyards to sweet golden juice in our mouths. 

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