Urban Homesteader: Making Apple Cider Creates Memories
My husband’s on the road much of time for work, so often (due to my own exhaustion) my children’s outdoor adventures don’t extend outside of the parameters of our own property.
We live on an acre and a half of an old orchard with 40 pear trees, 4 apple trees, 2 peach trees, 10 plum trees, chickens, rabbits, and a garden full of veggies.
Harvest Chores Become Family Traditions
Each October, after several 100 pounds of produce have been canned, dried, or frozen, the last two apple trees come on.By this time I pretty much hate the sight of all fruit and do a pretty good job of ignoring the newest ever growing mess on the ground.Eventually my sister in law calls and asks when we’re going to make cider (she has an apple tree that she hates too).We always decide that this is the year we’re not going to do it, we’re just going to chuck them all without any guilt, and then inevitably the perfect day presents itself and we all come together to chat and press.Why it’s a Tradition to Keep Up
Everyone gets involved and it’s one of the few opportunities we all have to work together even with grandma and grandpa.I sort the apples to find those good enough to go in whole, letting far too many wormy ones go in for everyone else’s liking but saving a few hours of time. Then it’s all hands on deck cutting and removing damage from the remaining apples.My little ones believe they are doing an important job transporting bowls of cut apples from the cutting crew to the grinding crew, loading them on skateboards and scooters since they can’t quite manage to carry the heavy load yet.A few people man the press itself while everyone chucks the apples in, turning the heavy crank until each batch of apples has been ground to pulp and pressed.
The Best Part: Memories
The best part is sticking a cup into that first stream of juice to taste this year’s version. By the time we finish hours later, I usually have to strip a couple of kids naked and hose them off before we all share a meal to ward off any stomachaches from drinking too many raw apples.
This year we processed around 450 apples, which at 60-80 apples a gallon makes only six gallons.
It’s a lot of work for everyone and the cider doesn’t last very long but the memories we created last a lifetime.
Ann Gates Weaver is mamma to three kids, one husband, many chickens, and her fruit trees. Her primary outdoor passion is backpacking, but she’ll also jump at the chance to go skiing, cycling, climbing, kayaking, or canyoneering. Although she has traveled all over the world, her favorite place for outdoor recreation continues to be be the mountains and deserts of Utah.