Thursday, November 17, 2011

Apples, Apples, APPLES!!

But just a sec .... before I show you all photos from the Annual Weixler Family Alpine Apple Pressing Day, I thought I'd share this card with you (NOT an apple ... but a pear IS close!). I used JanTink's Double-Up Background Technique to get the coolio embossed/colored/patterned background strip with the houndstooth pattern... excellente'!!

Stamps: Faith in Nature, Fabulous Phrases, Woodgrain Background, Aida Background
Paper: Pear Pizzazz, Eearly Espresso, Very Vanilla, Whisper White, Peach Parfait
Ink: Black Stazon, Pear Pizzazz, So Saffron, Soft Suede, Certainly Celery, Peach Parfait, Tangerine Tango
Accessories: Scallop Trim Border and Corner Punches, Small Oval Punch (retired), Scallop Ribbon Border Punch, Houndstooth Textured Impressions Folder, Very Vanilla Seam Binding, Mini Clothespin, Dimensionals

Pressing apple juice is a tradition that started with my husband, his brothers and his dad when they were young. They had an old-fashioned crank-type gizmo that they would put the apples in to press the juice (in fact, it is STILL stored in my garage!). On a good day they could squeeze out about a gallon of juice (and it was a LOT of work, I tell ya!!) The first step in the process as we now do it is to grind the apples into bits ...

Then, we put the ground up apples in burlap that is placed in a square frame. Once the frame is full, the burlap is folded over and removed from the frame. These "apple packets" are then stacked between wood pallets, six deep, and placed in our apple press.

A word about the press ... my brilliantly smart and talented brother in law, Jerry, designed and built this thing. As of last year, he added a "turbo boost" to the thing which makes it go MUCH faster than it used to. It really is amazing to watch. We can get about six gallons out of a single press (which takes about two minutes).

Here we see the juices flowing (and my son, Devan). You gotta be ready with the tub and strainer. All of the juice is strained as it comes off the press ...

Then, the tub is carried over to a table where many of us wait to strain it again and put it in the bottles ... we have three tubs that are continually rotating through the process. Busybusybusy!!

I am sure this is not quite as sanitary as pasteurization, but we haven't had any problems, so it seems to work pretty well. All of the juice is frozen until it is ready for consumption ...

There is a lot of laughter, many hugs and much visiting and eating happening (we have the most AWESOME tailgate party somewhere in the middle of the process ... LOTS of good food ... and of course, oatmeal butterscotch cookies made by my sister-in-law, Diann. They are deLISH!!). This is me with my darling niece, Melissa. She is due to have her first baby (a boy!) next month. We are all SOOO excited!!

This year, we weren't able to get as many empty bottles as we usually do, so we only did about 370 gallons ... (I really shouldn't say "only", as it is STILL an amazing feat!)!!

We also filled this giant "vat" thing ... not sure what to call it. I think we put between 75 and 80 gallons in it. So overall, it was about a 450-gallon day!! Not bad, eh?

And we can't EVEN touch that stuff that pretends to be apple juice that you buy in the store ... compared to what we make (which pretty much tastes like bitin' an apple), that stuff is watered-down and nasty!! (at least in our opinion!)

So now I have a happy freezer full of delicious juice to last us for the coming year. This is one of our favorite family traditions ... come rain or come shine, we wouldn't miss it!!


Marisa said...

Wow!! Impressive production!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your apple pressing juice process ~ looks like a fun time with family and friends. I taught Special Ed for 30 years and we would go to the local apple farm and the kids were able to watch them make the apple juice. They always loved it !!
Thanks again,
Cindy Henry

luvglitztoo said...

Wow, what a great family day. I love the whole idea of a family day tradition and what a haul. I hope that this article inspires others to start a family tradition. We started a canning day some time ago, sadly, it has gone by the wayside. I hope to resurrect it again!

Jan Castle said...

Such an interesting process...and soooooooooooo many gallons! But then, you have shared many times that you do a lot of 'quantity' creating - LOL!
I can almost smell and taste it - yum!

Celeste said...

Love your card!
Living in Central NY I can appreciate the difference between store bought apple juice and cider compared to fresh. I know it's alot of work but the rewards are wonderful!

Carol Carriveau said...

Enjoying your card - really different....I have this stamp set and have yet to ink it up - you have inspired me! amazing day that you all put in - I'm sure the fresh apple smells permiated (sp?)the day - yum! Your BIL is a super and clever guy - the real Tim the Tool Man Taylor without the craziness!