Today was one of my favorite days of the year. This is my third vintage of apple products from my backyard tree, and today was go-day. I left the apples on about 2 weeks longer than normal, religiously collecting windfalls every day, hoping for a more aromatic and sweet apple. Mission accomplished. The pruning over the years has meant fewer apples of larger size, which is a positive for eating out of hand, but slows down crushing with my gear. If you want to see a video of how I crush and press, there’s one here.
The big difference this year though is what I’m doing with the juice. Apparently my recent visit to Normandy had some influence, as nearly all of my process has changed, as have the products I’m seeking. The past two vintages I’ve made strictly apple wine with these apple, an oaked one. This year, first product I’m taking is straight-up juice. It’s lovely. Next up is pommeau. I’ll then let it ferment with natural yeasts [normally use Lalvin D47], and will bottle some as sweet hard cider. The rest will be let go to ferment dry. So many lovely products from such a simple starting point.
My yield this year was just over 3 very full 23L carboys, so about 70L. And I held back about 30 lbs of the largest, nicest fruit for eating fresh – so one more product: fresh fruit. If it starts to go sideways in the fridge they will become chaussons aux pommes, or apple turnovers. Yum. All from one medium sized apple tree in one medium sized back yard.