Monday, 11 October 2010

Apple juicing

Sunday - the tenth of the tenth of the tenth - was Apple Day. At least it was here in Wales. The Llandrindod Transition Town group decided to hold an Apple Day event at Ashfield. There is a high degree of 'working-together-ness' here in Llandod between like-minded groups. It makes things possible instead of Very Hard Work.

First pick your apples....

...smash them to bits with a large wooden stick in a bucket (or you can chop them and put them through a 'scratter' if you happen to have one)... here's Ian doing some whilst networking at the same time...

...then put the pulp into an apple press. A proper one can cost in the hundreds... most people make their own - with a car jack or giant screw fixed inside a wooden or steel framework and something to collect the juice as it's squeezed out. Ours was a wonderful contraption involving a stainless steel pan with holes drilled in it, a plastic tray, two wooden chopping boards, a few nuts and bolts to hold it together.....
...and a dustpan to act as a spout! The juice comes trickling out as the jack or screw gradually turn to compress the pulp.

Feed the remaining squeezed-out pulp to the pigs...
... add a teaspoon of ascorbic acid per bucket of juice, and pour into bottles. When you get home, pasteurise the juice by placing the bottles, caps off, into a large pan, and simmer at 70 degrees for 20 minutes. Replace the caps and leave to cool. This process kills off any yeasts that would cause the juice to ferment, so it should still be good in a years time!
We really enjoyed the Apple Day. It's the first time I've seen Ashfield buzzing with people - volunteers, trustees, visitors, local people - working together and enjoying the sense of making something without spending an arm and a leg.
The warmth of the day, the children watching the apple lady make apple spaghetti, and the sound of the blues guitar in the background - settled like magic in my heart. I have finally understood what Ashfield and community gardening is all about, and I don't want to leave it.


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