El Niño, love your work…

So, we’ve had a belter of a summer. An absolute beaut, as predicted by the meteorologists mored applesnths beforehand. The el Niño weather system, pattern, phenomenon, whatever you want to call it, has done us proud this year. Some poor bastard farmers have experienced drought, and the rural fire brigades have been rushed off their arses dealing with bush fires, but we here in nice temperate Dunedin have had a glorious growing season for fruit. Apples to be precise. In previous years we have had the odd light pinkish tinge to a few mainly bright green apples but this year some are almost crimson in colour. Hopefully this is going to translate into higher fructose levels and hence a tastier (and stronger?) cider.

A big storm three weeks ago cost us maybe half the fruit on the trees, but they were literally bending under the strain so I was never going to be able to sue it all anyway. Last year I pressed everything in sight – this year I plan to be more selective, and discard anything that’s not A1. If it’s been on the ground more than about 10 minutes I’m not keeping it, similarly if it has any blemishes or signs of unwanted inhabitants then it’s going to the compost heap. I filled four x 40L plastic bins with ‘good’ apples and from that I should get enough for a decent batch of cider plus a few L left over for drinking.

The pears were a bit of a let down – there was quite a bit of fruit on the honey pear tree, but I didn’t get a single piece before the wasps (who are really doing well this year) polished off the lot. The other pear tree has a bigger crop than ever before, but it remains to be seen if they ripen before going rotten.

I started pressing apples last week, and about 2L in, the fucking Apple Fucker fucking broke. I put a little too much on the pump and with a resounding crack, 3 of the cross struts split. When I repaired it I changed the design a little – I made sure the holes for the coach bolts were a lot further away from the edge of the wood (this was where it failed), and I also took the opportunity to increase the height of the press, allowing for an additional two platters of fruit pulp. This increases the capacity by 40% and means I can squeeze out almost 2L in one hit, a great efficiency improvement.

fuck apples

The Apple Fucker Mk II

I’m not sure when the next fermentation will happen, I’m halfway through rebuilding the basement floor and I really need to get it finished before I do another one. Ho hum.


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