I know a lot of folks out there say squeezing is the right thing to do, but without the right equipment, that strikes me as quite difficult, painful, and possibly even dangerous. Personally, I think maceration the way to go, and I'm in favor of doing it at every opportunity. But for some reason he refuses to explain, Paddy just will not macerate of his own accord. He'd rather wait and have someone else do all the squeezing for him. Now, me? I enjoy the do-it-yourself aspect, here. Starting from nothing and through sheer muscle and sweat, producing something. And for the most part, Paddy is of the same opinion, but I just can't get him to go along with me on this one. Sure, we did it once before, and the results were satisfying for all those involved, but we were kind of backed up against a wall and desperate. I guess that's just what it takes before Paddy is willing to go along with me on this.
But here it is autumn already, and the issue once again rears its head. Paddy wants to wait for outside squeezing, but I'm in favor of just going ahead and macerating ourselves. But time is running short; I'm not sure how much longer we can wait. In the next few days, we'll be forced to make a decision. Do we macerate, or just forget the whole thing for another year?
But still Paddy persists. For reasons he's afraid (or ashamed?) to tell me, he would rather wait and see if we could get a hand from the farming co-op he and his wife belong to. I didn't even know they provided such services, but it seems they do. Still, the question remains, how much longer can we wait? The frost is on its way and pretty soon the apple season on Pennsylvania will be over.
Yep, all those sweet, juicy apples will be frozen and ruined. I heard tell some orchards have grabbed the smaller ones off the trees already in hopes of saving them, but last night it was damn cold. Personally, I think we should just go buy a shitload while they're cheap and locally grown, then macerate them in Paddy's food processor. We did that with pears to make some wine once, and the results were pleasing. But Paddy doesn't want to, and this is an argument that goes to our very first batch of home-made booze.
I guess it all really started with a big jug of apple juice Paddy's mom had sent him up to college with his freshman year. He had opened it, taken a swig, and forgotten it under his bead. Several months later he found it and took a swig. It tasted different. Kind of shitty, kind of tart, but kind of... like alcohol! Being 18 years old, we drank all of it and got stomach aches. But we were simply amazed at how easy it was to make alcohol!
Fast forward 8 years, and I'm at Paddy's place and we've decided to give this making alcohol thing another try. We ran up to the local grocery store one night, Bootlegger's Bible in hand (I'll post about that one some day; a simply amazing book M. Randolph gave me for my birthday a few years ago), and picked up some white and brown sugar, some packets of Red Star bread yeast, and the cheapest all-natural apple juice money could buy.
So with no press, we're really left with the options of pre-made soft cider, Flavorite, or maceration. After 3 years of experience, I think we've moved beyond the Flavorite stage, so I'll agree with Paddy on that one. So that leaves either buying pre-pressed cider or shredding some apples and risking shitty product by breaking from tradition.