Thursday, October 1, 2015

How to Make Apple Cider the Old Fashioned Way

Lake Winnipeasukee region in NH is where this red barn still stands. 

There’s a big red barn in New Hampshire that I reminisce about each fall. The large structure sits on a lovely plot of land with a huge garden area and apple orchard out back. Whenever those trees produce a stellar crop the owners send out an alert to friends: “It’s time to make apple cider!”

I happened to be visiting my close friend, Wini, who lives in the picturesque Lake Winnipesaukee region, when I learned of her invite to come join in the fun. Guess who got to tag along?  

The family who live in this house love to share and bless others. 

The weather was crisp and chilly that October day so we bundled up in jackets, slipped on rain boots, added stuffed mittens in our pockets, made sure we took a camera before we zoomed down the road. A few minutes later we pulled into the driveway of a lovely two-story house whose porch was all spruced up with fall décor: pumpkins, corn stalks, gourds, and more. Out back stood the big red barn.

In a matter of minutes they go from apples, to mush, to apple cider! 

I mingled awhile with others until crates of vibrant colored, handpicked apples caught my attention. Out came the camera. Next, I noticed a large contraption which I gathered was a very old cider press. Standing nearby were a few college-age students dressed in their finest: grungy t-shirts, jeans, shoes and baseball caps. Apparently cider making is very messy so clothing destined for the trash bin is preferred. (Must keep that in mind for my next trip east.) 

Toss 'er in and press 'er down. Then watch out for flying apples.
A short time later someone switched on the press and from then on it was non-stop-action. The students tossed apples into the top of the machine to be ground up and pushed down into screened boxes below. Now and then an apple would fly back out the top and occasionally a guy or gal would not duck in time and get clobbered. Ouch! 

She may be old, but this cider press works perfect.

While some tossed apples, two guys closely monitored the machine. It was their job to constantly empty out and then replace the screens full of apple “mush” once the juice was extracted by the press. Gravity forced the juice to flow downward onto a tray and then via a spout to a waiting empty container. Once full the jug, or make-shift recipticle, quickly got switched out and just as quickly an empty one appeared. 

Having no desire to get creamed by a dislodged apple or slip in mush, I opted to take photos that day. Other guests watched from inside the barn while enjoying sips of cider and tasty snacks. 

Here's to our friendship of 45 years and the season called Fall!

At the end of the day the crop produced over 20 gallons of cider! Each of us was given a free gallon to take home. Unfortunately, I had to decline as I knew TSA would confiscate the jug at the airport. They had done it before when on a previous return flight from NH a security person stole took my store bought, unopened and sealed tight, large jar of pumpkin butter. The stinker.

Thankfully, no one can steal my red barn memory. Not even the TSA.

Happy October everyone. Now go have some cider or buy a pumpkin!


P.S. Have a favorite fall memory or tale involving the TSA? Oh, do share, please!

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful time you had, Julie, and the pictures are great. I'm sure the cider tasted like no cider you've ever had before, fresh and delicious. I think TSA makes up their own rules as far as what they think is acceptable. Any way you can go on line and have some of these wonderful apple things sent to you? I, btw, make amazing apple butter and will soon be doing that. So enjoy your adventures.


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