Countryside Apples

October 11, 2010

I was on the hunt for more apples to grind, press, and ferment into cider.

I kept my eye on for people advertising apples in my area. The first one to cross my path was a small 15 tree orchard a few miles away advertising apples for $5 a grocery bag. Again, I picked about 100 lbs and paid about $30 for everything. I went home and crushed and pressed it unto about 6.5 gallons of juice. I kept out the odd half gallon for fresh drinking, keeping it in the refrigerator. I realized drinking it fresh that it was inferior juice to the Gravenstein apples I picked the week before. While the sugar content was decent, I had to add acid to it, and it just didn’t taste as good raw. I would have to call these apples “sweet,”as they were low in acid and in tannin, but I’m going to let it ferment and see what it does.

I got out a map and marked up an area in which I thought I could find some apple trees as part of old farmsteads in my area, and then I made up a little flier that looked like this (some editing has occurred for the internet):

I begged my husband to come with me one evening, and I handed out three fliers that night. One of them was hesitant, wanting to use all six trees themselves, but the other two proved to be quite useful. On top of that, I had posted my own ad, and got an email from a place close by. My husband and I were amazed that I had trees lined up to pick with so little effort!

That weekend, my husband and I probably picked 300 lbs of apples, all for free. With my grandmother’s help, we probably pressed 200 lbs into 15 gallons in one day. Apparently, 200 lbs is about all I can handle in one day. We might have kept going, but some of the apples were hard and a bit green still, so I called it a day at 5pm rather than punish everyone with difficult labor.

I was quite happy with the apples. Some of the apples actually had a little bit of tannin. Some were high in acid, and some low. I didn’t really have enough of any one kind to do 5 gallons, so I did a blend according to the acid content.

Thing is, two of the places I picked from had a lot of trees, so I was able to go back and pick more as they became ripe, and I quickly ran out of carboys, so I didn’t pursue finding other apple trees in the area I had marked out. I think, as a measure of thanks, that I will offer up my services in the spring to prune the trees in hopes that they will allow me to take apples again next fall. Meanwhile, I don’t think I would ever pay for apples again to make cider until I have my license, unless the batch of Gravensteins really turns out.

See an English cidermaker’s story.

One Response to “Countryside Apples”

  1. […] yesterday’s posting, I mentioned I had picked some green apples unintentionally, and so I didn’t process them right […]

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