S: Apples to Juice
FC: Apples to Juice | Compiled by Sarah Ford, 2009
1: Apples to Juice Stories and pictures from the KV Ranch Compiled by Sarah Ford 2009
3: It was a sad day when our local orchard closed the apple press. Our family had been enjoying their fresh, unpasteurized juice for years. We would buy it in quantity and freeze it for the winter. Have you ever had a glass of fresh apple juice? Mmm Mm!
4: Have you ever thought about where the juice came from? You probably can guess it came from apples, but how does an apple become that delicious juice? Our family wanted to find out the same thing.
5: First, we did some research. We found out that some people call it apple juice and some people call it apple cider. You might be surprised to learn that apple juice and apple cider are almost the same - they are both 100% juice from the apple. Some apple juice manufacturers also use processes to clarify the juice, resulting in a clear appearance.
6: We already knew that apple juice was good for our bodies. Apple juice can count as a fruit serving from the fruit group. Mom and Dad always said, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". Did you know you can also "drink" an apple? it's just as healthy,just as long as it’s the juice and nothing but the juice!
7: But how would we make this delicious and healthy juice? First, we needed to start with some good apples. We did have some apple trees in our pasture that seemed to be producing more apples every year. Could we use those apples to make juice?
8: The apples in the pasture were usually eaten by deer, horses, cows, or bugs when they fell off the tree. Our family didn't usually eat these apples. What kind of apples were they, anyway? And would they make good juice?
9: Many wild apple trees were planted a long time ago. When the pilgrims came to America, the only apple trees they found were crabapple, which aren't very tasty. Soon, they began to plant apple trees from seeds they brought from England. | As the country was settled, nearly every farm grew some apples. Apple seeds were brought to Wisconsin and planted by settlers as early as 1800. | A man named John Chapman became famous for planting trees throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (he is better known as Johnny Appleseed). | The History of the Apple
10: Our apple trees may have been around for a long time! An apple tree will start making apples after it is four or five years old and occasionally apple trees that are 200 years old are still producing apples .
11: So it turned out that making apple juice is possible to do at home! It's healthy and delicious. It does take a bit of hard work, though. Our family learned how to make juice and has been making it each autumn for several years on our farm. Here is how we turn apples to juice...
12: First, we need to collect lots of apples. It takes about 36 apples to make one gallon of juice! | Once the apples are ripe,they are picked (mostly by hand, but you could use a fruit picker, too). The apples are then placed in canvas bags or buckets.
13: Sometimes our family has to be creative to reach the tops of the apple trees!
14: It doesn't hurt to pick the apples ahead of time. A few days or a week or two may help some of the varieties soften up and make sweeter juice. .
15: Finally, it is time to make juice from the apples. This is called pressing day because it is the day we press the apples to squeeze out the juice. First, we inspect each apple. We discard any apples showing rot, but are not picky about any other surface blemishes.
16: Next, we have to clean the apples. The apples go into a tub or tank so they can be washed. We used a pressure washer. After washing, the apples are put in food safe containers (plastic boxes with drain holes), and moved near the grinder hopper. There they begin their transformation into juice.
17: "What's a grinder hopper?" you ask. A grinder hopper is part of a special device that dad built to make the juice. The apples go through a few stages on their way to becoming juice.
18: First the apples go through the grinder. The apples are chopped up including the skin and core. That is where most of the nutrition comes from! The smaller the apples are chopped, the more juice you will get.
19: The crushed apples fall into a slotted wooden bucket that is lined with cheesecloth. This will hold the chopped apples in, but will let the juice flow out as they are pressed.
20: We slide the container down until it is under the press. Here, an 8-ton jack is used to press the apple pulp down. As it is pressed, juices flow from the pulp.
21: The juice flows out from the bucket and down a trough and into a large, clean pail. The pail can hold up to 5 gallons. You can also take a sample at this time to see how the juice tastes. We can mix more red or green apples to adjust the taste.
22: Pressing day can be a long, but rewarding day.
24: When all of the juice has been squeezed from the apples, the mashed up bits, or the pomace, are dumped into large containers outside. But, on our farm, we aren't done with it yet. We know just what to do with our leftovers!
25: Now it is time to bottle the juice. We siphon it out of the 5-gallon buckets into smaller gallon or half gallon containers. Last, the juice is put into containers. It is important to make sure the containers are very clean. Any dirt or bacteria in the container will spoil the cider.
26: Now, sit back and enjoy a glass of fresh apple cider!
27: Cheers to a job well done!
28: Pressing day brings family and friends to share in the fun (and the work!)