17 October 2009

daylesford day, part four

On Friday, we drove out to Daylesford for our last course this term: Introduction to Cider and Apple Juice Making. When he's not managing the Market Garden at Daylesford, Jez runs his own artisan cider business using apples collected locally in the Vale of Evesham.

We started the day with crates of apples...

and Jez' own Heath Robinson-esque equipment, into which his assistants gamely fed apples for milling...

and pressing:

Jez talked us through the process step-by-step, then led us in a tasting of juices and ciders made from dessert, culinary, and cider apples. The juices had been pressed outside in the yard just minutes before, and the ciders came from Jez' own 'cider cellar' at home.

I was particularly excited by the bright flavors of the freshly pressed, unpasteurized juices. My favorite was Blenheim Orange, with Newton Wonder a close second.

After the tasting, we had lunch in the Daylesford Kitchen Garden, then piled into minivans for the short journey to Stow Cider, another artisan producer.

Here we experienced the process from start to finish. We shook the orchard trees to bring down a rain of apples,

used long poles to pull off the remaining apples, then gathered them into bags,

which we hefted back to base, where our apples were combined with apples of different varieties to produce the perfect blend:

We worked the mill and press in teams, filling the hopper with washed apples, scooping up the pomace, building the 'cheeses' (wrapping layers of pomace in cloth and sandwiching them between boards), pressing the cheeses, and dismantling the pressed cheeses.

In the end, we each took home 25 liters of juice to ferment into cider. And if you've never seen a 25-liter barrel, that's a LOT of cider!


  1. Gosh, that is so cool! I have a couple of apple trees and now i have so many apples. wish i had a big cider press! :D

  2. OOoh, that'll keep you warm! I went to an apple picking and cider making party a few years back - it was great, but we smelled of apples for days afterwards!

  3. The perfect excuse for a party!

  4. Sounds as if you had quite a workout doing all that.

    What a lovely way to spend an autumn day.

  5. Thanks you so much for sharing your cider making. I very much look forward to hearing the outcome of your own artisan cider making.

  6. What fun! How long before you take delivery of a cider press? Cx

  7. I was amazed when Jez told us that his homemade Heath-Robinson contraption which cuts and shreds the apples and is powered with the old electric motor taken from a Polish washing machine is called the "Scrimper". You could not have made this up if you tried!

  8. A picture perfect autumnal afternoon! If you add some mulling spices to your apple cider it's even more wonderful, not to mention the way the house smells fantastic! D x

  9. I'm new to your blog and have been browsing through the past couple of weeks of cookies and books and such. We may be twins, separated at birth -- and with a bit of a time lag!

  10. oh, i want one of those homemade-looking apple milling thingies. sigh.