I know this is not related to Aquaponics, but it was definitely a wonderful project that I think you all should try if you get the chance. This past week I had the opportunity to press some more cider this season. My research adviser owns a large, hand-cranked cider press. We have pressed many gallons of cider this season from seconds and drops.
When pressing cider, it is preferred to use seconds. Drops are cheaper (typically free) if you can get them from someone you know who has trees. Many orchards will not sell drops as they can harbor many fungi and bacteria. If you use drops, it is advised to pasteurize the cider. Pasteurizing cider is a very simple process. Instructions can be found easily online.
We used seconds for this round of pressing. I purchased a half bushel of seconds for about eight dollars from a local orchard. Some of the apples had large bruises on them. Dr. Foster advises discarding any apple than you can press your thumb into easily. Fortunately, I was able to select my apple directly from the orchard, and pressed them the same day. Apples that have some damage and have started to break down sugars make the best cider. From our half bushel we were able to harvest a little over two gallons of cider.
While we drank some of the cider immediately, I heat pasteurized and prepared two gallons of the cider for fermentation in sterilized glass carboys. I’ll most more on that in a little while. A word of advised from one of my professors, “When drinking raw cider, just remember not to drink to much, the more you drink the shorter the residence time.”