Cider Pressing

17 Oct

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What a beautiful day for cider pressing. The red, borrowed, pick-up truck that overflowed with thousands of apples seemed to beckon passerbys over. How could they resist the abundance of succulent yet crunchy fruit that was just dying to be bitten into and guzzled down? With gusts of wind carrying all of the napkins up and away and consistently knocking over the cider donuts and bottles of cider, we created a delightful and delicious mess.

For those of you that couldn’t make it, this past Saturday CEEDS brought fifty bushels of apples from Clark Brother’s Orchards in Ashfield, MA to Smith College. The day had started off well. My boss’ six-year-old daughter seemed to have taken a liking to me, and wanted to help with whatever tasks I had to complete. As we skipped back to CEEDS to get some last-minute supplies, I made conversation by asking her how old she thought I was. After a serious look-over, she gave me her genuine response, “Forty-three.” Well, I guess I asked for it.

We set up camp next to Chapin, and spent all morning and much of the afternoon making and essentially inhaling cider with the help of two wonderful cider presses. One of the presses was fancy and modern with cast iron parts that created a very foamy and frothy cider. The other was much smaller, and was similar to the kind of presses Americans used hundreds of years ago.

In colonial times, many people started to drink cider because water was often unsafe to drink. They let the cider ferment and would then drink it hard. This way they could make more at a time and wouldn’t have to worry about it going bad. The hard cider wasn’t just for adults, but a filling beverage that the entire family enjoyed.


As we crushed and squeezed the apples, CEEDS Monitoring Coordinator Paul Wetzel exclaimed excitedly that we had just mashed a worm in with the apples. To my slightly disgusted expression, he reassured me that our cider would have an even better flavor, and that he had hoped to see even more worms amidst our sea of apples.

Dr. Wetzel wasn’t lying, the cider we made tasted like nectar of the Gods. Just tart enough to prevent the sweetness from dominating the sensual experience, our cider was thick and had just the right amount of pulp.

“What did you guys put in it?” one suspicious girl asked after taking her first sip of the delectable cider. “Absolutely nothing,” I responded. It was almost unbelievable that something so simple and pure could invoke such a rich and pleasurable experience for the taste buds. Maybe there was some magic in the worms after all.

-Angela Magyari

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