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Posts Tagged ‘Granny Smith’

According to the Washington State Apple Commission, Washington harvests close to 100 million boxes of apples annually. This equates to about 10 billion individual apples that are handpicked. The top five varieties of apples expected for this year’s harvest are Red Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith and Golden. Together they make up about 90% of total apples grown. And with over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, the only native apple is the crab apple. Washington State apples are harvested from mid-August (Gala) to as late as November (Cripps Pink). Many Farmers and orchardists have “pressing parties” this time of year, especially when you start to harvest a couple different varieties. Homemade cider from Washington State grown apples is hard to beat. Pressing homemade cider with your own Cider press  is fun for the entire family.

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If you are in the Philly area this harvest season, you’ll definitely want to check out West Chester’s Highland Orchards. In operation since 1941 with over 200 acres of fruit, you can pick your own apples for cider pressing. They have a number of varieties of apples as well including: Empire, Jonagold, Stayman, Ida Red, Mutsu, Winesap, Rome, Granny Smith and Fuji. Be sure to check out Highland Orchards before October 31st.  Tours, good food, rides and other activities are also available.

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I have been working on building an apple press for a few months now. I have met some very creative people who are doing the same here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. And now, as we begin the harvest season I am especially excited to try my most recent cider press project. When I purchased it earlier this year, it is an older cider press, part antique part thrown together over the years. But that is exactly what I am doing with the press. I am only replacing old or broken parts and hope to test it out in the next couple of weeks. This season I am going to press two varieties of apples together. I think I’ve got a good supply from last years harvest that have been sitting in C.A. all year. I am going to mix Granny Smith’s and either Red Delicious or Fuji’s. I am only making fresh cider or juice, not hard cider. I have heard that the Fuji’s have too much sugar when making hard cider. That is something I am learning about as well and hope to start a batch next year. If anyone has any other variety mixes they are trying, or have favorites, please post them!

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One of the great things abouts making homemade apple cider, is that you can never run out of different apple combinations to experiment with. The more apple cider you make the more you will begin to understand what works well together and what doesn’t. This depends on your unique tastes as well, not everyone will agree on what tastes best. My philosophy is that you must start with quality apples and from there it’s just a matter of fine tuning. Most talk is surrounded around a good mix of sweet apples and tart apples, or at least having a good balance. I agree, it’s a must to mix at least two apple pairings, unless of course you don’t have a choice. Then the best apple choice is your only choice, I’m sure it will still be tasty. Here is a chart I found from Sage Fruit Company in Yakima, Washington. I love the graphic detail laying out the spectrum of different apple flavors. This can give the homemade cider maker some great ideas!

Spectrum of Apple Flavors

Apple Flavors and Varieties

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