Posted on May 19, 2023 at 4:38 PM by Kyra Troendle
Like many people, I love a good seasonal drink. Whether that be a smore’s flavored cold drink in the summer, or a gingerbread latte around Christmas, I love seasonal menus at my favorite coffee shops. While a pumpkin spice latte is not my drink of choice in the fall, I will never turn down a nice sip of apple cider. If I am out on an abnormally hot fall day you will find me with an apple cider slushie in hand. If it’s raining, you can bet you’ll see me curled up inside with some hot apple cider. As much as I love the convenience of going to the grocery store and picking up a half gallon jug of apple cider, nothing beats the cider you can find at an apple orchard for me. While I find myself struggling to balance the convenience of grocery store and the (in my opinion) clear superiority of fresh apple cider, I realized that was not always a concern for people.
One of the items in the farmhouse that we get the most questions about its identity is the early cider press located on the first floor. While some may chalk it up to the fact that its in the timeline room with the candy, I think it’s because the contraption itself is imposing and it leaves people bewildered. The cast metal and oak of the cider press shows craftsmanship and the more intimate details of how cider was pressed in the nineteenth century.
This particular cider press machine in the Farm House Museum was manufactured by the Whitman Agricultural Company, St. Louis, MO patented in July 1874.
To start the process of creating cider, apples go into the top opening while someone turns the crank continuously. A wheel within that has teeth and edges so it can mash up the apples into golf ball sized chunks.
The barrel beneath this component is cloth-lined and filled until the mashed apples line the top. After this, the barrel is slid over underneath the corkscrew press.
A top is placed on top of the apples and the wheel is turned to crush all of the juice out of the apples. The juice is squeezed through the cloth onto the bottom tray and then it pours out and is collected in whatever contain is preferred.
Learning about this process certainly made me appreciate the modern conveniences we now enjoy, however, pressing my own cider is definitely a new bucket list item for me.