Making apple juice is a family Fall tradition at the Klassens.
We made it for the first time with Harv's parents over 40 years ago with a borrowed press on a dark and stormy night. The following year Dad Klassen built his own press and we have been refining and streamlining the process ever since. This year it worked like a well oiled machine with only one small adjustment to make the juice heat up faster.
We start with a trip to get apples. We get them in Keremeos from an apple farmer with whom we have have a long standing arrangement.
He has a commercial press and knows the best apples to use. This year Cox Orange and Golden Delicious were his apples of choice. He loaded our pick up truck with apples - 1800 pounds of them!
Juice making day was Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend and two of our 3 kids and their families and a couple of friends came to help. (we missed our daughter's family who live in the prairies. Those grandboys were so disappointed they couldn't come to help!)
The children are all eager to help - What fun it is to toss those apples into the washing bucket.
Look out for splashes!
Look out for splashes!
Ella sorted the apples so we got a good mix into the juicer.
But it's not all work to the grandkids. It's cousin time too.
Rick guides them into a hopper where a drum studded with screwheads and powered by an electric motor spins around and chops the apples into tiny pieces.
We learned early on to cover that spinning drum!
Another vat is placed under the chopper so we can keep chopping while the full one is pressed.
After the first year when we had to hand screw the press down, Harv devised a hydraulic press to do the pressing and now it is done with the touch of a finger. We have to do it slowly though or we have apple explosions (Grandpa called them "Auspouffs!)
The pressed juice flows into the stainless steel tray and is funneled into a waiting bucket.
Tim punches out the remaining apple pulp.
Ben gets the first taste of the fresh juice.
We ration it out though because one cupful can be as filling as eating several apples.
We then strain out any bits of apple form the juice before it gets suctioned up through a heat exchanger into an old beverage dispenser Harv found at a used building supply place.
This is the back of the dispenser showing some of the "plumbing" The juice bucket is at the right and my pan of lids is simmering on the burner to the left.The heat exchanger somehow heats the juice to pasturization temperature almost instantly. (How it works is beyond my understanding, but it does)
It then goes into the beverage dispenser which has a hot water jacket around it
so the juice stays up to temperature
Then it's my job to dispense it into jars and seal each jar with a hot lid.
In years past it was an all day job, with cleanup sometimes lasting until 11 pm but each year our time is reduced by Harv's innovations and this year we started at 9 and had everything cleaned up by 5:30.
It's hard work but it's fun work with the family all pitching in.
Here are a few more glimpses of the day.
Julia and Dean enjoying their "boxed snack"
Nate bites into one of the treats that Nana provided to make the day even sweeter.
Jen and Dulci supervised the outside work and the smiles tell you that it wasn't a tedious process.
Time out for a simple lunch - hot dogs and platz.
Adele looked after providing us all with snacks and meals while watching the little ones.
This was Dean's first apple juice experience!
And at the end of a long day, there's time to hug a tired boy