Pressing matters

TB has always been somewhat of a brewer and was inspired by all the brews taking place in Hugh FW’s Rivercottage DVDs. So when several buckets of apples turned up courtesy of M it was only a small jump to making cider.

Our original though was that the apples were a cider-type being small and predominantly green. But we have concluded that they are probably some type of eating apple only a bit under-ripe. They certainly cooked up OK. But now for the big test, cider.

Of course no activity around Chez Fork is ever straight forward. We had tried pressing apples once before, rather to the cost of the vessel we tried to press into, (does the phrase ‘material destruction’ seem appropriate?) So TB set about building a better cider press. Several visits to the local metal shop and hardware store later he came up with this splendid hardwood and mild steel cider pressing vessel (heavens only knows what the correct name for it is).


The press itself is a 12 ton shop press which has only ever spent its working life in creative practices such as pressing handmade paper and cider.

To press the apples we first cut them up, skins and cores, then put them in cheesecloth, inside the pressing vessel. The press works so well that we had to keep inserting additional wooden blocks on top to get all the cider out. And here it is …


We had hopes of great batches …


But this is the reality …


1.25 litres ,oh well. At least we will be testing this batch in the near future.

Now we are ready for our next batch of apples – where are those old ladies?