Statzes' cool press we used last year
We started off at 2 pm picking apples off our trees. After loading the tractor cart with drinks and appetizers, Jim drove it down near the trees. It was very Martha Stewart-ish! We had a blue cheese dip with homemade french bread, mango & bean salsa, apple salsa, and candy corn.
The men were chomping at the bit to get back to try out the apple press. They were intrigued! We broke into work stations with Barb and Shelley in the kitchen sterilizing the containers, Jill and Jesse washing and cutting the apples, and the husbands all standing around admiring the press. We got into the swing of things, figured out the most effective process (stopped cutting the apples first for one thing), and things went smoothly.
There was a small bit of excitement about halfway through. Andy came into the kitchen where Shelley and I were sneaking in a sitting break to ask if we had any bolts as one had worked its way loose and gotten lost. Andy and Jim went off to fix that problem and a short while later Shelley and I heard a loud metal pinging noise, followed by much excited chatter, and then another very loud metal banging noise. I thought the press had come apart at the seams mid operation and was exploding in all directions, piercing everyone with sharp metal projectiles in the process.
Things seemed to calm down and there were no loud "Call 911" shouts, so Shelley and I ventured out to see what had happened. A piece of the tire jack, which was used to press the juice from the shredded apples, had slipped loose, soared about 20 feet into the air, and come crashing down hitting the other end of the press, missing Kelsey's hand by a breath. It left quite a dent where it hit, so Kelsey must have had her guardian angel watching over her. Typical of a 16-year-old, she was not phased in the least.
At 6:30 Kelsey tossed the last apple into the press and we topped off the 33rd, and last, bottle.
The juice is delicious. The variety of apples produced a tasty drink and it is a superior vintage to last year's, in my humble opinion. It tastes like liquid apples--duh--and is just delicious.
We retired inside for a potluck featuring sweet onion sausages from our local farmer's market with homemade mustard and my cousin Joe's bottled BBQ sauce, spinach salad, broccoli apple salad, smoked cheddar and apple au gratin potatoes, baked apple pie beans (are you beginning to see a theme?), taboulli, apple cookies, and apple cheesecake. All washed down with--you guessed it--wine!
The apples get washed…
...go into the crusher…
… and then get pressed. (Only strong macho men need apply for this job.)
A year's worth of saved bottles.
Long-time friend Mike came down from
The last apple goes into the hopper. Kelsey's hands were stained yellow at the end of the day. What a trooper!
Four and a half hours later after we started!
The hard-working and thirsty crew.