Paul Nickerson

Pressing Cider

In Gardening on December 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Cider PressI 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.

IMG_0594We 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.”

Havesting Tilapia

In Aquaponics, Gardening on December 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Jared Netting Tilapia This past Friday I was invited to a sustainability luncheon. The lunch was comprised of locally grown and prepared foods including apple sauce and cider, pies, canned vegetables, grass-fed burgers and, of course, my Tilapia. Catching them was one of the most interesting aspects of preparing the fish. I recruited a friend of mine, Jared Franklin, to give me a hand netting, while I sized and sexed the fish. We collected only four fish, and placed them into an ice bath to keep them from jumping around.

The fish was filleted and prepared with a small amount of butter, pepper, and adobe salt. We cooked them in a charcoal grill. It was delicious! Harvested FishFillets

Press Cake Purge Valve

In Aquaponics on November 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

This is a short clip on the operation and effectiveness of the recently installed purge valve on the aquaponic system at Messiah College. The valve is used to drain excess press cake waste from the supply manifold to reduce the amount of clogging problems we initially had in the system. The valve is working great!

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