Monday, November 08, 2010

Little house in New Jersey

Mark and I sometimes joke that our girls are growing up more like girls in the 1950s than the 2000s. We've been a (mostly) TV-free house since 2008. They aren't allowed a lot of computer time, read a ton of books and play outside a lot. Of course, we're only joking since there is still a long list of modern conveniences from which they benefit.

However, yesterday, we went to our next-door neighbor's house and made apple cider. Outside. With an old press that you have to crank manually.

It was awesome!

The cider was fresh and sweet and the kids loved turning the crank and watching the apples get squished into cider.

In fairness, the grinder - which turns the whole apples into a sort of pulp - was electric. Regardless, the kids had a great time tossing apples into it and watching them get turned into mush.

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Loaf tosses one in. Looks like she's going to be a little short.

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Peanut's turn and she sinks it!

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Loading up the press with mushed up apples for another batch

So here's what I learned:
- It takes one bushel of apples (about 42 pounds) to make 2.5-3 gallons of cider.
- Like pie, the best cider is made from a variety of sweet and tart apples.
- Making cider is a messy, sticky job.
- An electric apple grinder will shoot chunks of apple an impressive distance.
- Hot apple cider with rum is yummy (OK, I already knew that one, but it's even better with fresh cider).
- Making apple cider in your neighbor's backyard will make you feel like Laura Ingalls, even if the driveway is full of SUVs and shiny German sedans.

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