Thursday, 2 October 2014

Apple Armageddon

It is October, it's still boiling hot in Southampton, and the Saints are flying high in the Premiership. They do say that you should make hay while the sun shines!
So, taking full advantage of the Autumnal warmth we decided to press some of the huge quantity of apples we had collected. Naturally I had initially filled my shed store, for the winter months.
The cider press was dusted off, no mean task as it is a beast of a machine; very heavy, angular and awkward. All the buckets and equipment had to be hosed down and sterilised. Finally, my trusty stainless steel Spear & Jackson No 9 spade was thoroughly cleaned and polished.
We used the spade as a speedy way of chopping up big bucket loads of ripe fruit, before smashing them to oblivion with a branch of cherry wood. These weapons of mass destruction were augmented by the hopper fed fruit mill.
Fortunately I had a good squad of strong, enthusiastic child volunteers to help me with the processing, and the juice was soon flowing freely. As normal I had to balance the amount of sweet nectar necked by the kids, against my desire to have plenty left to bottle.
This year we have invested in a Pasteuriser, which means our precious juice can be kept for a longer time than it would last in the fridge alone. The Children’s valiant efforts produced about 4.5 gallons, a fantastically tasty achievement.
After I had filled and pasteurised 12 bottles, there was still two gallons left, so that will  become cider - unless the kids find it first.
Apple juice-straight out of the press-is the best tasting treat of the Autumn and If you want to experience this delight, you should get on down to the Mansbridge Community Orchard Apple Day on the afternoon of 12th October 2014. Bring some bags or buckets to collect fruit in, and join in with the family based fun, in the Octavia Rd Open Space.
If you have any spare fruit from your garden bring it along and we will turn it into delicious juice. The Apple Day is an open air event, so wear robust clothing and footwear (wellies are de-rigeur).
N.B.This is an amateur/volunteer/community based event – everyone is responsible for their own health and safety and parents/guardians are accountable for their children.


  1. Hello! I though I left a comment but I can't see it! All this foraging stuff is so cool! Yesterday my mum and I went out and ended up with a big box of chestnuts! There are loads of chestnut trees near her house! Any idea where I can find elderberries? Or is there like a group of people online who forage in the Soton Easteligh area who share locations? There should be!

    Also I go dumpster diving a lot and always have stuff like bread and banana and well loads but if you ever have too much of something and feel like doing a trade.. here's my blog -

  2. Hi Libby
    I don't always put Elderberries on my map, because there are so many of them about. The map I created is on the side bar and bottom of the pages but you can now also use the fantastic, Falling Fruit site. Links also on my side bar.

  3. That map is really cool! Although I tried to add something and it wouldn't let me :(