Our very first juicing in 2012 was achieved using a borrowed hand press. We researched how to process the juice safely by pasteurisation and experimented with the small-scale manual equipment that had been loaned until we got the method right. With the support of KMEG we applied for a grant for more robust and technically superior equipment. Our successful grant application meant that we were able to buy an apple mill, a hydropress and another pasteuriser ready for the 2013 harvest. As a result, we could process far more efficiently – for example, the maximum number of bottles in one day in 2012 was about 60, but with the new equipment we can produce over 200 with less fatigue!
Though the speed and ease of juicing has changed the steps from apple to bottle of pasteurised juice are the same.
The fruit is washed and trimmed before going into the mill, the large yellow thing that looks and acts rather like a garden shredder, then the pulp is transferred to the hydropress (which looks quite like the inside of a washing machine but in no way acts like one). The apple pulp is packed in a sack around a deflated rubber ‘balloon’ in the centre of the press and once the lid is secured the ‘balloon’ is inflated using water. It’s amazing to see how much juice can be forced out using water at normal tap pressure. The hydropress gets an extraction rate of about 60% (half as much again as with the manual press – and a lot less hard work!).
The apple juice is sieved and collected in a clean 5 gallon bucket containing a fifth of a teaspoon of vitamin C powder. The vitamin C helps to stop too much froth from the natural pectin in the juice, so there is less to skim off and it also helps prevent the juice from discolouring.
The juice is then tasted and given a taste rating, ranging from sweet to crisp, before it is sieved again into a jug and then used to fill the bottles ready for the pasteuriser.
The filled bottles are stood in the pasteuriser, up to their necks in water. The lid is put on and the pasteuriser heats the water (and juice) to about 75 0C and holds it there for 20 minutes, killing any yeasts and spoiling
organisms. Afterwards, the bottles are taken out and wiped down, the tops are tightened down and the bottles are put on their sides to cool. This allows some of the pectin that has collected in the neck of the bottle to dissolve back into the juice. When the bottles are returned to an upright position, any remaining pectin will sink to the bottom as sediment. We don’t try to prevent cloudiness or sediment it is a natural part of the juice, and we think it adds a certain rustic charm!
About a week later – after the volunteers have had chance to recover from the hectic juicing and sticky bottling tasks – we sit quietly and label the produce. The atmosphere is generally calm and soothing apart from the odd frustration over labels that refuse to separate! Or glue that refuses to glue! Then we can marvel at the end result before it is whisked away to the storage room ready for when the Summit Bakery or Kirkby News require a top up of stocks. Many thanks to both outlets for selling our juice.
But what about the left over apple bits in the press? I hear you ask.
Well due to a happy coincidence we found a good home for the fresh pomace (apple bits left over after the juice has been extracted) it was taken by someone to feed his pigs. A lot of the pomace has also been used on the Kirkbymoorside allotments, apparently it is a good mulch.
Contact: Chris – email: firstname.lastname@example.org