We had a whomp of a storm blow through here yesterday. Oh, no Sandy or Katrina. Not even a Great Gale of Ought Seven. But a pretty good sample of winter weather.
Real estate signs and garbage cans cartwheeled through the streets. The smaller rivers all overflowed, leaving farmhouses sitting on grassy islands. Lots of limbs went flying. And two big pieces of sheet metal blew off my neighbor’s wood pile and into my yard while I was gathering the last of the apples, which the winds had kindly harvested for me.
Those airborne guillotine blades didn’t even come close to me, luckily. But the tremendous clatter and bang definitely made me jump.
The storm delivered another 20 or 25 pounds of apples (all the ones that had been too high or too awkwardly placed for me to get last month). These are all damaged — bird-pecked and cracked or bruised from smacking the earth. But I figure even after cutting away the bad stuff, I’ve got at least 16 pounds of seriously ripe apples.
And that’s enough for more cider!
I don’t have a press. And though both a Victorio food strainer and a Norpro peeler-slicer-corer are on their way from Amazon (thanks to a pair of lovely, so far unknown, people who visited my wish list), if they don’t arrive today this is going to be a hand-processing job. Those apples aren’t in good enough shape to last long. (And yes, I do know you don’t need to peel cider apples; advice varies on coring.)
So I looked up how to make cider without a press. Naturally the ‘Net is full of advice. And naturally all of it’s either contradictory or at least all over the place.
One site says to pound the apples into pulp with a 2×4. Or something like that.
Another says to cook apple slices (which I’d rather not do) and process them in a blender before squeezing the juice out.
Another says, “No, no! Not a blender!” Smash ’em with a meat tenderizer or a pint jar or a rolling pin.
Yet another advises mooshing them up with a hand-held electric blender.
And that’s even before you get to the actual squeezing-the-juice-out part. Ugh. It all sounds like a terrible mess — though I admit I rather like the picture of whaling away at ripe apples with a piece of structural lumber — as long as I’m wearing a space suit.
So … I’m asking the Living Freedom Commentariat. You’ve done this before. What works best for you?
In much more serious storm news, new commentor “art w,” another who just emerged from Sandy’s darkness, left this comment yesterday. I thought it needed to be brought forward since it contains serious food for thought on the matter of preps vs flooding (bolded by me). (I did some very “lite” editing.)
Just emerging from the effects of Sandy on the flooded south shore of Long Island, NY. Approximately 13 days — no electric, no cable for internet, no heat. Here the tidal surge and the wind effect on trees with leaves and evergreens further enhanced the damages to homes and power.
Thankfully there was no loss of life in my area but really extensive damage and losses in the nearby Rockaway peninsula. The storm surge was unprecedented in the area and ran through the streets invading homes through driveways and garages, flooding low areas of homes and basements, many of which had never been flooded before.
Imagine 4 to 5 feet of water in the streets. I believe cable and electric were turned off at the start of storm. Most cars left in the street were totaled by the salt water surge.
Some conclusions: Nothing could have prevented the ocean surge or protected from it. Items of preparation helped to survive in the 1800′s atmosphere. Campstoves, kerosene lamps, and wood fires for cooking helped keep morale up. Frozen 2-litre bottles of water kept food ok in coolers. But after nearly two weeks most fuel supplies were nearly gone. One might suggest a wood stove, but one gent lost 10 cords of wood — washed away in the surge. Gas generators were a mixed blessing, since people could run pumps and refrigerators, but the need for constant refueling a was a pain and the gas a safety hazard. Also I believe in certain areas gas hot water heaters tore loose, with fire and burn downs as a result.
Food on hand was great, as was stored water since the [emergency responders] were slow in coming as all had emergencies to deal with. The more you learned and prepared in advance the better you fared and the sooner you were able to help others around you who were in worse shape. Also cell phones don’t work if the power to the cell tower is interrupted.
Hope this helps others. Prepare so you are not helpless.