Transition Loughborough have a large apple press that is used every year between late August and mid November to perform community apple pressing events around the area. This was funded by generous grants from Charnwood Borough Council and the Co-op in 2012 and in the first year of use we attended around a dozen events with the press. Its a great way of engaging folk with the food going to waste around them (most of the apples come from trees that would otherwise just be left to fall to the ground and rot). Here’s a quick video of it in action at Old Dalby scouts event in November 2013:
As well as the press we have a “scratter” which is a device to pulp the apples before they go in the press – this increases the amount of juice coming out of the press considerably. Our main scratter is powered by a drill, so we need a mains electricity connection nearby to run this (battery drills tend to run out quickly!). We have run events in fields where we pulp all the apples in the scratter before hand, but where we can run the scratter at the same time as the press people seem to enjoy it!
We also have a pasteuriser that we can bring along. This is really a large, thermostatically controlled saucepan-cum-kettle that can have up to twelve glass bottles put in it to pasteurise the apple juice. Pasteurised apple juice will last about six months in its unopened bottle, so its a great way of having apple juice at Christmas or Easter! The pasteuriser again needs a mains connection, and each batch of 12 bottles takes about 45 minutes to process.
Without pasteurisation, the fresh apple juice will keep for up to a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen (1 pint plastic milk bottles are good for this). Some people have also made cider from the juice – you just need to put it in a demijohn with an airlock and leave it in there until the air lock stops bubbling (usually a couple of months).
The Apple Press can be booked for your school, church or community event. It costs £15 per day and comes with a couple of Transition Loughborough members. We bring the press, scratter, buckets and (if requested) the pasteuriser, set them up, help do the pressings and clear everything away at the end. We ask the community group making the booking to provide the fruit (apples and/or pears), the cups/bottles/etc to put all the juice in and the mains electricity supply for the scratter and pasteuriser. If you want to pasteurise apple juice note that we need to use glass rather than plastic bottles – the jars that you get tomato passata in are an ideal size.
As a rough rule of thumb, each pressing will use up about a bucket full of apples and generate a couple of litres of apple juice. We can do several pressing in a hour if a “production line” of scratting and pressing is set up.
The bookings are made on a first come, first served basis as the press is very popular in the Autumn period. You can see what other events are already booked by looking at our online calendar. Apple pressings go into the calendar as soon as we receive the booking form and payment. We don’t reserve booking slots without the completed booking form and payment.
You can get the booking form here. Please make cheques payable to “Transition Loughborough”.