Trip Start Jul 20, 2012
23Trip End Jun 28, 2013
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
It was a brisk autumn night. The background noise was a symphony of bottles as we made our way across the countryside. My host father and I were going to a farm with an apple press just 15 minutes away. The last few days the whole family had been picking all the apples we could manage from our nine apple trees. Some big, some small; all chock-full of apples.
My host family has their own pressing system, complete with shredder, press, and all. We had already made about 75 liters of juice, but with the pressing, pasteurization and canning processes this took three days. Dodging more days of this tedious process we took the rest of the apples to an Apple-Presser-Man (trust me, it sounds better in German).
After picking the last apples we could find, we loaded up the trailer. It was filled to the brim with apples in every sort of box, crate and basket imaginable. To avoid being misleading, let me clarify something. Trailers in Germany are a bit different than back home. In essence they are made so a Fiat could pull them. Nonetheless, quite a good sum of apples if I might say so myself. With the trailer full of apples and the car full of bottles, we embarked on our journey. It is incredibly typical in Germany for secondary roads to be 'Kopfsteinpflaster' or cobble stone.
After finding the way to the farm we found a place to park the car. I step out and look around. Here in the middle of fields and woods was a beautiful farmhouse, well over a hundred years old. Cobblestone driveways, masonry architecture, old barns; the list goes on. It was almost like a scene from a storybook. After I finished ‘taking it all in’, we unloaded the apples set them in the barn next to what looked like metal washbasin, and would be the starting place for our apples on this night.
It was then time to begin. The man fired up the grinding machine and we dumped, basket after basket into this metal basin. The engineering behind this system was very practical, but genius. There was a metal tube going from this metal basin, and in this tube was a screw to take the apples to the grinder. At the top of this pipe, there was a great grinding machine. It ground the apples with hardly any effort at all. Then after going through the grinder, the pulp was shot into the next room over the wall. It then makes its way into a great funnel, eagerly waiting to spread onto trays.
In the end we had 216 liters of apple juice, and how long did this take? Well, we were in and out in two hours. Like I’ve said before, quite an impressive little operation. Then we loaded up the crates into the trailer and headed home. Since it was late, we didn't take the crates of apple juice into the basement; we just stacked them in the hall. The neat thing is that the juice retained a lot of the heat from the pasteurization, so all night none of the heaters were on. After all the crates were stacked, we headed into the kitchen for the most rewarding part; tasting the fruits of our labor. Still warm, the juice was like the ever-sought-after ‘Nectar of the Gods’.