November 29, 2011

A Grogg of the Ages

On Thanksgiving morning Mike and I wrestled an old cider press out into the driveway to dust it off. It's been a few years since the old beast saw the light of day.
My dad says it's well over a hundred years old and has been a part of our family's orchard for most of that time. It's built of cast iron and oak and is as heavy as it sounds. It required careful handling, but still looked good. We picked some Newtown and Spitzenburg apples that were left hanging in the trees after harvest. The apples are a variety cultivated by my grandfather, over 100 years ago. The Spitz tree is probably as old as the cider press. The Newtown was Thomas Jefferson's favorite. It's too bad that it's become so rare to see these classics for sale anymore in the produce departments. A couple good freezes in the fall makes the hanging apples extra sweet, and good for cider pressing at Thanksgiving. Amazingly, nobody was maimed by the old machine during our endeavor. Lisa and Rochelle helped to crank the cogwheel, and various other participants helped with quality control taste tests. We pressed about 5 gallons of cider then set a big pot of it on the stove top to warm with some cinnamon sticks for added spice, while Mike and I went to work cleaning and oiling the old machine.
Mike and Molly brought some rum back from their St. Lucia honeymoon this fall. Mike suggested we fix up the cider a little with some rum. Later on, Mike and I had an Oregon apple cider cocktail salut, then proceeded to destroy half of a Texas pecan pie while the girls weren't looking.

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