The group came and the group went. They fed the chickens and said goodbye to the ones that are going to market tomorrow. They did some tree measuring for the Woodland Trust monitoring project and some tidying too, but I hardly noticed them because I was juicing apples.
It can be a drawn out job at the best of times, but when the people who put it away last year put it away (a) dirty and (b) at random it can be a trial. I still haven’t found the siphon tube or the filter for the funnel, so we improvised. We used a kitchen sieve for a filter and when we had to transfer the contents of one barrel to another we used that old male stand-by known as brute force and ignorance. It worked.
We also suffered delays whilst I found the powdered Vitamin C – if you don’t add it you end up with brown juice. It’s still good, and it’s all natural but the oxidation makes it look unattractive. Three teaspoons in thirty litres of juice (or 52 pints if you still use them) reverses the oxidation and turns it back to a nice golden colour
We now have 40 bottles of juice and another barrel that needs bottling tomorrow.
Things would have gone better if I’d remembered how to use the steriliser, but the temperature control dial is a bit misleading – an embossed black mark on a black dial, which isn’t great for a short-sighted man in a dimly lit shed. Yes, I used the wrong end of the pointer and set the temperature far too low. By the time we’d found that out we had to wait an extra half hour to sterilise the juice in the bottle.
Of course, you can get by without sterilising the juice, as long as you either freeze it or drink it within 3-5 days. After that the natural yeast on the apples builds up enough gas to blow tops off and cause all sorts of problems. A few years ago we had a customer who had his juice put into a 10 litre bags and then went on holiday. I didn’t do the sterilising in those days. The juice fermented, blew the bag up until it started to leak and came back to find his kitchen floor covered with juice and a fine selection of insect life.
That’s why I got the sterilising job.
Towards the end we had bottle cap roulette, which is a game played with a variety of hot recycled bottles containing hot juice. Not boiling, but 80 degrees C isn’t very comfortable. The game consists of heating up the bottles and juice then finding a cap that fits, lifting the bottle out, tightening the top and laying it on its side.
It’s always a relief when you finish that bit with no spills, burns or seepage.
Oh yes, I love the apple harvest. 😉