Updated: Sep 11, 2020
You could say that last Saturday was a perfect Autumnal day! Well, my perfect kind of Autumn day anyway and If visions of fallen apples, warm oranges and baskets of harvested veggies evokes that in you, then you're with me!
The sun was a gloriously warm orange and we were set for a wonderful morning on the community farm collecting and pressing windfall apples. We gathered with friends at the Hampshire Heritage apple area, next to the rhubarb and we were greeted by Andrew, who soon lead us through the different stages of the pressing process.
We divided into small groups to manage each task and were soon busy collecting, washing and chopping the windfall apples. The first stage was the collection, which all of the children were very excited to do and we carefully picked through our baskets, taking out any really bruised and squishy ones which would be taken to the compost. Thankfully not many of those, so we quickly had a bounty of assorted and delicious fruit, ready to be washed and chopped.
We chopped the apples, accompanied by friendly wasps who happily buzzed about, skipping from the bowl to bowl and occasionally tickling legs, as if to say hello. After the chopping, the fruit was then taken to the scatter, a machine that turns the apple chunks into apple mush. The children enjoyed this process very much and were thrilled to watch how the machine munched, crunched and spat out the golden-yellow fruit.
We also had a moment to munch and crunch and enjoyed tasting different apples, relishing the unique flavours of Merton Knave and the sharp-sweet flavour of the James Grieve, which was my favourite!
From the base of the scatter we soon had a bucketful of mushed apple, which we took to the presser to be pressed and squeezed and we couldn't believe how quickly this process began! As soon as the mulched apple was added to the presser, it immediately began producing the most wonderful golden juice.
The whole process took 2 and a half hours, with many hands helping and working together. The time absolutely flew by and at the end, enough juice was made to fill everyones container so we could all enjoy a few glasses of apple juice over the next two days. Andrew advised us that the juice should be refrigerated and consumed within that time as it would then turn fizzy and should be thrown away.
I can honestly say, it was the most delicious fruit juice ever!! Made even tastier by the fact that we made it ourselves, with our friends, on that perfect Autumnal day!