Monday, October 19, 2009

Apples, Apples Everywhere!

Well my cider press and grinder finally arrived last Friday. The plan was to try it out that evening with maybe another batch Saturday morning. The lawn needed mowing and I had planned on hitting Mille Lacs in the afternoon. Best laid plans! Getting carried away with the lawn mowing and before I knew it the time had sped away. It was good to get the a few things done around the house as I had committed to helping my sister-in-law Sue on Sunday to get a few things done around her house before winter. Another issue is the current water temperature on the lake. It is hovering around 44 degrees and with the wind predicted to increase I always worry about being on the lake myself. At this time last year a lone fisherman's boat was found drifting on the north side without the occupant. It wasn't until May of this year that he was found. No thanks! Unfortunately the soft water opportunities are slipping away. Deer hunting is just around the corner and the way the weather is going, we might be ice fishing by Thanksgiving. Looking back the latest open water fishing I have ever done on Mille Lacs was December 6th and we still caught fish that day. The earliest I started ice fishing was November 17 when a good friend Earl Taylor and I found 5 inches of ice on North Center Lake. Both those dates are pretty incredible.

So it's apple cider time. Unpacking the new cider press the first thing I noted was the ratchet assembly did not work. Typical Chinese forged metal. It was a great idea, just had to open the holes more. Getting the equipment home I ground up about 4 gallons of apple pulp, mixed in the peptic enzyme that John Felix suggested and waited till the morning to press the "pommel". Pressing is best done if you put the ground apples in a fine mess nylon straining bag. This prevents the pulp from getting into the cider producing a cleaner product. Morning came and I immediately loaded the press and promptly squeezed out a gallon. The straining bags also let you handle the squeezed pulp easier as I rearranged the bag and squeezed it a second time. This produced another 1/2 gallon, not bad. Grinding another batch of apples filled up a 5 gallon pail for the evening press event. The evening pressing yeilded about the same amount, 1 1/2 gallons of juice. Looking at the pulp it still felt wet. I decided to get out my meat grinder and run the freshly pressed pommel through it. Once ground I loaded it into the press and to my surprised squeezed another 1/2 gallon. The third batch was done using the meat grinder alone and yielded over 2 gallons immediately. I think this will be the preferred way. One thing is sure, fresh cider is like honey from heaven! It is certainly better than any store bought, at least I think so.

Next on the agenda, apple pie filling. Searching the internet for recipes proved helpful yet difficult. There are so many variations on the same product however one caught my eye. There is a product out ther called Clear Jel. It is a modified cornstarch product that is used to thicken sauces in canned foods such as soup, pie fillings, salsa, and anything else needing a thicker texture. One can use cornstarch to do the same thing however Clear Jel will not break down during the canning process and is more stable during storage. I started looking at ingredients in many store bought products and its interesting how many carry Modified Cornstarch in them. One cannot buy it locally, or at least I have not found it, and had to order it on-line. It works very good and it will be interesting how they taste in 6 months.

Finally the highlight of my week was attending the CSI tackle wholesalers show with my friends Bill and Kathy Lundeen. This is the place where the new tackle is presented for the area bait shops and I like to attend to see what's being pushed for the next year. One thing that caught my eye was Lindy Little Joe's new Splash Brite Lighted Bobber. The bobber has a built in LED and battery. There are hidden terminals that when water shorts them out, the LED lights. When you pull it out of the water, the LED turns off. No more forgetting to turn off you bobber when you are done fishing. The battery is said to last up to 30 hours and when it finally runs out of juice, the bobber can be used as a standard slip float. The suggested retail is around $8.00 and I think it's a pretty slick product. Well hopefully I can make that last walleye run before deer hunting starts.


Anonymous said...

Check out Xanthan gum for corn starch substitute.

You can buy them at local health food store. They are easier to find.


Puça said...

Hi Dave!

Thanks for commenting in my blog!

I've read you make apple ider. Here ins Spain the most famous one is the one made in Asturias, I attach a link. I do not know if it's the same way you do it or tastes equal.

Asturia's cider is very well known here, and has it's own tradition when drinking it too!

Dave Anderson said...

Thanks Puca,

That link looks interesting. It appears as though the cider is what we call Hard Cider, which has alcohol in it, which certainly makes sense why there would be a tradition associated when drinking. I plan on making my own hard cider and starting a tradition as well!

Puça said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave. I made a cider press that has a motor powered gronder on top. One year I pressed 45 gallons. Gave a lot away and froze a lot in 1 gallon milk jugs. I found Golden Delicious and Jonathan mix was the best. Uncle Jerry

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave----I would love to taste some of that cider sometime!! Susan