Fall Favorites: Apples Apple Cider with the Weston Fruit & Wine Press

This week, I'm using three of my favorite fall ingredients in my cooking: apples, squash, and pumpkins. Apples were today's focus, and so I absolutely had to use the Weston Fruit and Wine Press to make fresh apple cider. I was already excited about using this really neat tool, but since I saw it used on The Food Network's Chefs vs. City, it's become that much more cooler to use. In the Food Network preview for the show, you can see our Fruit and Wine Presses being used in the LA Winemaking episode (at :19). Click here to see it!

Yesterday I picked up a bushel of apples from Mapleside Farms. They have a Bag Your Own Apples area in their Apple Barn which allows you to mix and match whichever freshly picked apples you so choose. I've read that when making cider, it's best to use a variety of apples, which was confirmed by the folks over at  Mapleside, so it was perfect. I chose to fill my bushel bag with Jonathan (Tart-Spicy), Jonagold (Sweet-Tangy), and Golden Delicious (Rich-Semi-Firm) apples. To find an Apple Orchard near you, visit

I made about two gallons of cider with a bushel of apples. To make the cider, I quartered the apples. Then, I attached the hopper to the Weston Fruit and Apple Crusher and started crushing the apples. Once they were crushed, I pushed the apple pieces into the Weston Fruit and Wine Press and started piling in the blocks to press down the apples. Once it was filled and the blocks were placed, I began turning the ratcheting head. Juice poured into the bottom through the openings in the barrel... without letting any pieces out. It was amazing. When I looked at the barrel, I was sure I was going to have some texture to my cider, but the pressure only allowed for the liquid to escape. Once I was done pressing the apples, I opened the barrel to find a solid round brick of dry apple pieces. More importantly, I had about two gallons of fresh, flawless apple cider. The flavor was unbeatable. The cider was 100% natural, no additives needed.

I put most of the cider in the fridge, but I am a lover of warm apple cider in the fall. So, I took enough cider for two, and simmered it on the stove with brown sugar, allspice, cloves, and a half of a stick of cinnamon for an hour. After an hour, I poured it into mugs, stirred a teaspoon of unsalted butter into each and garnished them with a cinnamon stick. I spiked my mug with a couple of tablespoons of the Frangelico I had left from my Pumpkin Ravioli recipe the other day. It just enhances the flavor that much more and gives it a nice nutty aftertaste, but it's still delicious without it. For my Warm Apple Cider Recipe, visit the Cooking With Weston Recipe Book.
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