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Archive for October, 2009

Making an Apple Grinder

When making an apple grinder for crushing apples, you will probably want to serrate or at least sharpen the teeth on your grinder. A lot of homemade apple press grinders are nothing more than the wood core with screws drilled about three-quarters of the way into the wood. If you are more of the metal working type you can cut strips of  aluminum or stainless steel and bend them upright at a 90 degree angle. You can them carve out teeth on the part of the strip that is perpendicular to the wood base. I will post a picture below to help explain. The point is to carve out teeth that are as sharp as possible to create the finest mash as possible.

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The family and I had a succesful weekend of cider pressing. Every year we go over to my in-law’s home and press apples for fresh cider. This year we used Honeycrisp apples that my father-in-law grows, as well as Red Delicious apples from Yakima and a few other varieties. We were pressing about 1 bushel of apples to yield a gallon or gallon and one-half. This is the first year I’ve really paid attention to yield per bushel. Does anyone else have any statistics on how many gallons of cider they yield per bushel or box of apples?

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Honeycrisp apples have gained significant popularity over the past few years, even though they have been around for quite some time. Honeycrisp apples are the result of a 1960’s cross-breeding of the Macoun and Honeygold apple varieties. A project of the University of Minnesota apple breeding program. This year’s harvest of Honeycrisps will probably produce another year of growth. In Washington  State alone Honeycrisp production growth was 118% from 2006 to 2007 and another 33% from 2007 to 2008. Honeycrisps are a great table apple as well as a great blending apple for fresh apple cider.

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The Kingston Black apple is another variety of apple that is best suited for cider making only. With its bitter taste it isn’t much of an eating apple like so many of the apples grown in the United States. In  fact, most cider making apple varieties don’t even look like the larger Red Delicious or Fuji’s that everyone  loves to eat. Most cider making apples are smaller and tend to grow in clusters of 3 or more. If you are looking to grow cider apples or if you are looking for a variety to buy to make hard cider, the Kingston Black may be a good place to start. It is a good stand alone variety, or varietal, so you don’t necessarily need to blend this apple variety with other apple varieties. If you do want to grow a Kingston Black apple tree, you can purchase them in the States and they are best suited to grow in hardiness zones 4-9. This hardiness zone covers a majority of the US, from the Yakima Valley in Washington State to the Tennessee River Valley. See the map below. The only climates to avoid would be the northern plains and the southern tip of Florida.

Climate and growing zones for the United States

Climate and growing zones for the United States

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The Crimson King apple is an old english variety used to make hard cider. This apple variety was propagated by a man named John Toucher of Bewley Down in the late 1800’s. When used to make hard apple cider the end result has a fruity taste. Crimson King apples are a smaller bright red apple that typically grow to be only about 2.5 inches in diameter. Crimson King’s are harvested in November (in most climates) and some people use them for cooking as well.

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When pressing apples into cider  you will  first want to crush the apples into the finest pomace as possible. The more you are able to grind up the apples, the more juice you will yield when pressing. Another vital piece of equipment would be filtering bags, which are usually made of a stretchy nylon material. Using a cider pressing bag when pressing your cider will filter out unwanted objects from your cider. If you choose not to use a pressing bag filter you will more than likely need to use something to get the seeds, stems, excess pulp, and other foreign object from contaminating your cider or juice. It is much easier to line your pressing tubs with a filtering bag, which will take care of 99% of your filtering.

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Gourmet Fruit Basket

Gourmet Fruit Basket

Grove’s Goodness does it again with the Orchard Harvest Gourmet Fruit & Gift Basket. It is loaded up with fresh fruits including: 4 varieties of Pears, 2 varieties of Apples, Citrus Oranges & Pineapple. This gourmet gift basket also includes a 10 ounce bottle of perry, and assorted gourmet fruit and nut covered chocolates. At a very affordable price this gift basket is sure to please any recipient. This Fruit & Gift basket weigh’s 15 lbs., and is loaded with goodies. Pear varieties include Green D’Anjou Pears, Columbia D’Anjou Pears, Bosc Pears, and Seckel Pears. Apple varieties included are Red Delicious and Fuji.

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As we enter into mid-October and Apple harvest is wrapping up, everyone seems to be pressing apples and stocking up on cider and juice. Each October we have a family “pressing party” although we don’t necessarily call it that by name. It’s more of a family get together to celebrate birthday’s, catch up with each other, and get away from our busy lives. I truly believe that cider pressing is an event that build’s family and strengthens relationships because everyone can participate. So, if you  haven’t had the opportunity to press apples with family and make  some amazingly good apple cider, there is not better time to start.

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The Grove’s Goodness Abundant Fruit Basket is over flowing with fresh fruit and goodies. This gourmet gift basket contains some of the finest Pear varieties, including: Green D’Anjou Pears, Bosc Pears, Concord Pears, Columbia D’Anjou Pears, Seckel Pears and Asian Pears. This delicious fruit basket also contains Red Delicious Apples, Jonagold Apples, Granny Smith Apples, Navel Oranges, Grapefruit, Pineapple & Dried Fruit Assortment. If you are looking for a gift for  a fruit lover in your life, then this gourmet basket is it! We will deliver this basket anywhere in the United States with a personalized message.

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A small but very effective wine press from Jaffrey Manufacturing is their table model. It is small in size, which makes it easier to manage and store. The cast iron arm and screw will have no problems crushing your grapes into juice. When pressing grapes for fresh juice or when making wine you should crush the grapes prior to pressing, but it is not required. Just as if you were pressing apples (which must be ground up into pumace), the more crushing you do on the front end will yield more juice on the back end. If you are interested in dabbling in pressing grapes, but don’t have an interest in producing a large volume, then the Jaffrey Table Wine Press is the fruit press for you.

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