Apple Day 2014
On Saturday the 25th of October, Greener Kirkcaldy hosted an Apple Day at the Ravenscraig orchard. It was a windy day but beautifully sunny and a huge improvement on last year’s weather! Many thanks to all those who generously donated apples for our juicing event. (Photos courtesy of Fraser Nicol and Russell Gill.)
Why make your own juice? It’s a great opportunity to use locally grown fruit! (In this country, most of the apple juice we consume is imported.) Leaving it unpasteurised helps to retain the original flavour of the fruit. It won’t stay fresh for as long as pasteurised juice would but this problem is easily solved by freezing any excess juice to use at a later date.
Appletreeman, Andrew Lear was there with an impressive collection of apple varieties to peruse:
So many kinds…
Crates of beautiful apples in all shapes and sizes. (There were a few pears and quinces too!)
Mrs. Mash tells a story in the howff:
The juice-making: We got a little production line going to make our apple juice. Here we are, chopping apples ready for the scratter. If the apples are bruised and shrivelled, that doesn’t matter, as long as they are not squidgy or mouldy: a quick wash and roughly chop them up, core and all.
Did you know? Cooking apples are great for juicing and can provide a good kick to what might otherwise be a boring juice. No added sugar necessary.
Blogger and orchard volunteer, Ross Laird takes the chopped apples to the scratter (apple mincer):
David and John hold the scratter steady while the boys turn the handle to crush the apples.
Russell bundles the minced apples into the press:
Finally, a lever is used to screw weights down onto the apples, extracting all their lovely juices. You can see we put the boy to good use again!
Voilà! A delicious jug of apple juice. Now to make the next batch….
For me, the beauty of making your own juice is that you can vary its composition on a whim. Fancy a sweet drink? Add some of the more saccharine apples: Charles Ross, Bloody Ploughman… After something sharper? Throw in more of the Bramleys and James Grieve apples. Feeling aromatic? Try adding Cox or Laxton’s apples. With all the combinations to experiment with, the possibilities are endless! Purists may prefer to juice one variety at a time to compare them. (After all, when was the last time you saw a pure “Newton Wonder” juice?) Personally, I’d be inclined to just grab whatever I have to hand and see how it turns out, which is pretty much what we did at the orchard, though we made sure to get a good mix of sweet and sharp.
I tried two batches of juice on the day. The first was sweet and aromatic with a familiar tangy undertone which I have nevertheless never come across in bought juice before. (One I recognise from homemade puddings perhaps…) The second was a little sharper (though still sweet and tasty) with more of the cookers coming through. Both were equally pleasant to me with a wonderful blend of contrasting flavours. (And if you know your apples, you may even notice which of the many flavours you pick up belong to which variety!)
If you’ve ever compared different brands of juice, you’ll know that they do not all taste the same and perhaps you prefer some brands to others; and yet I find there’s something rather bland about the reliable regularity of your average carton, always the same in every season… Give me a glass of original, fresh-pressed complexity any day!
Links and resources:
Further information on apple varieties:
Scottish heritage varieties and Scottish grown: