Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This weekend Dave and I went on another adventure, this time to Olympia, where we made apple cider at Rembrandt's parents' house. We love going down there - Rem's parents are some of the nicest people I've met, and good times are always had. We started by picking apples in their orchard, which is a bit overgrown and undermaintained, but produced plenty of apples for our purposes.That's Dave up in one of the trees. Myself I didn't head up very far, as I chose a bad tree to climb. Plus, I'm not that keen on being in trees with moss-covered branches. A bit slippery, and thus disconcerting, even though I'm not afraid of heights. Although, to be fair, I'm not thrilled at the prospect of falling from them. We took our haul of apples to the driveway, where the real chaos occurred. Rem's parents have a cider press, seen here (cart o' apples in the background): We had a good mix of apple varieties, which is key for full-bodied cider (so I hear). The box on the press contains sharp blades attached to a motor (on the right), which dices the apples into a lovely pulp. Here is Dave running the machine (it's important to hold the lid down - otherwise chunks of apple go flying everywhere at high velocity) while Rem (center) feeds in apples and Kelsea cleans them. That was also one of my jobs (the cleaning, although I also did the feeding later in the day). You then press the pulp down like so: The actual pressing process was pretty easy, and quite satisfying as you watch the cider flow into the pan. When you're done you get some good snacks for the resident chickens: The cleanup was fun - I love spraying water on dirty things, be it Dave's muddy bike after races or cider presses covered in apples. It was especially exciting spraying Rem's apron: No, I did not get him wet! All told we made about six gallons of cider: That doesn't seem like much considering the mass of starting material, but when you think about it, apples aren't that juicy. For reference, the bag of pulp Rem is holding, which is from one pressing, resulted in about 1/2 gallon of cider. So, how is it? It's really really good. Dave and I brought two gallons home, one which we're going through slowly and another which went in the freezer for later. This was my first time making cider and it was really fun (and very sticky)!

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