Its Fall, for real now. The mountain sides are dappled, you can smell fires in the air, and I’ve had to pull out my warm cloths from the back of closet. One thing I’ve learned since living in the mountains of NC is that you know its fall when everyone starts bringing apple desserts to the potlucks – apple cakes, apple pies, apple turnovers, apple crumbles, apple crisps, baked apples with ice cream, apples with yogurt and granola….you get the idea.
I mean really I don’t understand how I could ever catch a cold eating so many apples all the time.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm is famous for their apple cider, which they’ve very wisely started making into popsicles for the kid-lets. Since I very conveniently date a wonderful man who works on the farm we had private access to the cider press. There is nothing like fresh pressed apple cider, as straight as mother nature intended. We filled up over 13 gallons in less than an hour and a half!
So the process begins…
Step one: Rinse off the apples and send them down the shoot to the grinder.
Step two: Scoop up ground apple bits and juice into cloth sheets and stack between corrugated plastic sheets on press, as many layers as you can fit
Step three: Watch in awe as glorious cider pours from the layers as you pump the hydraulic press.
Step four: Keep pumping.
Step five: Pour cider through the sieve to filter out the pulp and any bees that got squished during the process.
Step six: Fill up the jugs from the spout conveniently located at the base of the barrel you just strained the cider into.
Step seven: Cap the jugs.
Step eight: Empty the pressed pulp into barrels to be fed to the pigs. Everything had a purpose on the farm!
Step nine: Avoid being stung by the plethora of bees and wasps that come to hang out with you. (This step can be done at any stage of the process.)
Step ten: Enjoy the cider nectar!
Photos courtesy of Susan Sides. Visit her blog Seeing All Sides .