Sunday, October 5, 2008

Harvest Festival #4: Fruit Press


Part of the day-long preparations for the Harvest Festival Dinner was the production of grape and apple juice for the diners. Here, a Grange member adds organic grapes, supplied by Frey Vineyards of Redwood Valley, into the hopper for pressing. Such a process was more commonplace a century ago, but with the convenience of prepared juices, it is now something to be rediscovered for those who seek more self-sufficiency. I saw many of these presses used by families in Hungary a decade ago. They are way ahead of us here. More images of this process are on my Overflow blog.

8 comments:

Laurie said...

The press itself is so elegant in its design. It reminds me of the simple beauty of old sewing machines or laundry wringers.

How was the juice?

Dina said...

I've never seen how grapes are pressed. Thanks for your continuing education you give me.

Saretta said...

What a nice experience. Did you taste the juice?

Hilda said...

I wouldn't mind having one of those presses. Looks much more convenient than having to peel fruit first before placing everything in a blender. Hmmm… but I wouldn't get the chewy bits and pieces, which I like too. I take it the press produces clear, smooth juices?

Kelly said...

I love these presses! They really recall a more rustic way of life, and this one is really beautifully made!

I can almost taste the juice...

USelaine said...

Laurie - The simple, straightforward technologies are the easiest to fix with improvised repairs too. If something ever goes wrong with this, he can immediately figure out why.

I didn't taste the juice.

Dina - Apparently it works on apples and pears too. I remember seeing apples being done somewhere else, and a swarm of yellow jackets got in on the action! Not my idea of fun, but there was no problem with that here.

Saretta - I didn't taste the juice. I confess, I didn't buy a ticket for the dinner.

Hilda - It seems to come out fairly clear, maybe somewhat clouded with crushed fibers, but not densely like whole fruit in a blender. I think some people run the crushed juice through a filter of medium weave cotton cloth to create a clearer juice.

Kelly - I do too! There are apple orchards at my mom's place, but we have never had one of these. The juice can be frozen more successfully than the whole apples, and different varieties of apples make different flavors. One of my favorites is Golden Delicious. I'm not so crazy about the ones at the grocery store, but fresh off the tree they are crisp and flavorful, and the juice tastes the same.

Dina said...

Oh no, a swarm of bees! Not for me!

Your post stirs up an old memory of college days. It was the longest "road trip" we ever made on our small Honda 50s, from Ann Arbor to the Dexter Cider Mill. The cider was so fresh and good! It came in a big crock-type glass jug with one little handle. We put it on our shoulder and took a swig, like the tough guys in the movies.

Kym said...

My mom and dad have a similar press. Every year about this time we make apple juice. The first glass (and mind you, I don't usually care for juice) is food for the gods--sweet, fresh, and crisp.