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Posts Tagged ‘Yakima’

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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Apple a Day

Two Yakima women have started a pretty cool business this summer. The Apple-a-day business was started to provide a healthy snack for local businesses. Basically, every week they will deliver fresh apples to each client (doctors offices, law firms, ect.). Apple-a-day provides a cooler to keep the apples in, much like a smaller vending machine, which a clear glass front. As businesses have clients coming and going throughout the day they can enjoy  fresh Washington Apples…not a bad idea.

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In what looks like an effort to cut out the middle man, Wal-mart is planning to open an office in Yakima, Washington that will buy directly from growers. Who knows what effect this could have on the overall fresh produce market, and we will see if it materializes. Click here for the full story.

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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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An apple a day keeps the doctor away! No kidding.  Whether you are enjoying Red Delicious, Gala, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Jonagold, Golden,  Fuji, or one of the many other varirties of apples, you are doing yourself a healthy favor. According to the US Apple Association, here are the facts:

  • Apples contain zero fat & saturated fat, and are cholesteral & Sodium Free.
  • Apples are also an excellent source of fiber and contain natural plant-based antioxidents.
  • Apples and Apple Juice and Cider contain the mineral boron, which promotes helthy bones.
  • Apples are sweetened with the natural sugar called fructose.
  • Apples are a high fiber food which helps maintain a steady blood sugar level.

Enjoy your apple a day in  any way you choose. Juices, whole apples, sliced apples, cider, or apple sauce.

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Here is a step by step guide for making homemade apple cider using a fruit press.

 

Step 1 – Apple Selection & Preparation

This is a critical step as this will determine the quality and flavor of your cider. Make sure you are not using apples that are tree fallen as they will most certainly contain pests, which will not only hurt your cider, they may have contaminated the apples. Quality fruit will produce quality cider, just like anything else. You will also want to select a couple different varieties of apples. Using two or three different varieties will give your cider a unique taste. Each time your press apples you can experiment with different varieties of apples to find the perfect ratio of sweetness and tart. An example of a blend may be Red Delicious apples coupled with Granny Smiths. As I am from the Yakima Valley I always use apples grown in Washington State, I have yet to find better apples than the apples grown in Central Washington. Even with this simple mix you can adjust the ratio of reds to granny’s to refine your blend. Other blends may apple varieties such as: Jonagold, Pink Lady, Golden, Gala, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, or Rome.

Once you have your fruit selected you will want to make sure you wash them throroughly to remove all pesticides. When pressing apples your press should have a grinder to crush the apples into small pieces. However, I suggest at least quartering the apples before putting them through your grinder unless you have a quality grinder that can handle whole apples. Some cider presses  have automatic grinders while others have a manual crank.

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One of my favorite times of year is harvest season. And one of the best places on earth to be during harvest season is the Pacific Northwest, as central Washington is known as the Apple Capital of the world. Central Washington produces almost every variety of apple including: Red Delicious, Fujis, Gala, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith and many others. This gives us plenty of options when searching for the best blend of apples to make cider. With so many varities this has become a lifelong quest to find the perfect blend.

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