Its been a little thin here this summer, there is always another thing on the list ahead of blogging. One of those things is now dealing with the glut of apples and pears on our trees just now becoming ready for picking and deciding what to do with it all. Having always wanted to try making cider but not sure how to effectively crush large volumes of fruit ready for pressing I recently came up with a quick and easy method of doing just that.
Use the wood chipper! Yes, thats right give that chipper a good clean out, remove the screen, place a polly feed bag over the outlet and dump a ½ bushel of fruit in the top and 15 seconds later you have a bag of pulp ready to be pressed, my press takes two such bags per pressing and yeilds between 2 and 3 gallons of juice.
So I now have several liters of Pear and apple juice (suitably heated to kill the wild yeast) in the fringe, an experimental gallon each of cider and perry bubbling away in the corner AND some pear butter made from the squeezed pulp (waste not want not) on the go in the slow cooker. Biggest problem is that this was all done with a couple of bushels of early 'fallers' and I already have 2 or 3 bushels of pears ripening in the basement, many, many more on the tree and have not even started on the apples.
Given that I also want to make some pear wine and only have enough equipment to make about 20 gallons in total it looks like I will be once again giving away fruit to anyone who drops by as we hate to see stuff go to waste and the chickens and peacocks (who love fruit) are already overloaded with the left over pulp. Apple pie anyone?
Oh, then there are the grapes which are also loaded with fruit..........