A word of warning: never, ever, EVER, drink the Swedish perry that's on offer in IKEA, it is VILE! It is so rammed with chemicals and additives, that should you drink some (like I did) you'll be able to see yourself in the dark (like I can).
- This warning was brought to you by the Pervy Safety Board.
There's a 50 litre press and a scratter to fit it, for sale on ebay. I've spoken to the seller (whose number I got from Barry the cider man at Borough Market), and she was very nice and (since Barry had told her we were going to donate it to a good cause) she said that she'd have done us a good deal if she'd not already put it up for auction. However, that's academic.
Working on 50l being 10 gallons (and possibly only half of that being juice, with the rest being pulp), then even one this size would require quite a few pressings to get a decent quantity of juice). I'm very tempted to buy it off ebay, at the current price of just under Ł300. It's a fair bit, I know, but unless we strike it very lucky we could well end up spending the same sort of money and only getting a press half the size (therefore twice the work - making pressing into a very full weekend). The only drawback is that the auction ends in a day or so.
I've now finally spoken to someone at Roots and Shoots. I called this morning and found out that they'd already got a biggish sounding commercial hydraulic press (donated from some farmers in Wales, apparently). They haven't used it yet, but plan to use it this year. Therefore they aren't interested in any other presses, but I don't know if it's a possibility that they'd let us use their press (in return for a donation, perhaps?)
I've also emailed and phoned various people (cidermakers, brewers' suppliers, etc) and asked them to look out for second hand presses. I only did this at the end of last week, so no responses yet.
There are quite a few issues above, and I'd like to know what everyone thinks. Key things are:
- who wants to get involved in making cider?
- how much cider does everyone want to make?
- do we want to get our own press (and then give it to, say, the City Farm), or do we want to try and blag a day on R&S' press, bringing our own apples?
- if we want our own press, what does anyone think about the VFM of the one currently on ebay (size, and cash are the two issues as I see it)?
Mrs I and I are definitely in. Between us, we reckon we could jettison enough inessential household clutter to make room for 15-20 gallons. What about anyone else?
[if anyone wants to see typical prices for new presses and scratters (also called â€śmillsâ€ť and â€ścrushersâ€ť), look at the Vigo website]
I've got 3 5-gallon brewing buckets - so that's 15 gallons for me. Sounds like our half-ton of apples already gone (can't remember any results of the apple-to-juice ratio deliberations). Before we get too enthusiastic, how are we going to transport this vast bulk of apples round the country? (just imagining Mr and Mrs I scooting down the M4 with apples spilling out of their panniers)
Well this is the problem, we have to work out how many people actually want to get involved, and how much cider do we want to make, that should govern how many apples we need to buy. I've got those juice to fruit ratios at home somewhere, I'll post them later.
Best thing I think would be to use R&S press if offered. Obviously an urgent phone call is needed on this if we are to find out before the bidding deadline on the ebay press. Are you too busy to call them tomorrow Ivanhoe? i will do it if you cant.
I say this because Ł300 would be do-able if there were lots of keen punters signing up quickly to share the costs, but so far we are three and as the deadline is tomorrow there's a bit of a risk. I'm not willing put in as much as 1/3 of Ł300, as well as sharing the price of apples and transport, whether or not its good value for money. But on the other hand I am willing to put in a bit, if there's lots more of us to share the cost and we have a head start by raising a bit on the ciderdelica evening.
So sign up quickly everybody! Lets give Ivanhoe an easy decision because there's lots of takers. If you dont want to make individual brews you can do a communal 'barrel': a 5-gallon food-grade plastic vessel is Ł8-99 - or Ive got some spare 1-gall demijohns to lend out - first come first serve. (for the really hard-up only: 2-gallon food grade plastic tubs thrown out by the sandwich bars on Borough High St - you have to wash out the mayonnaise first! yukkk!) The more people join up the more fun it will be and cheaper for all of us.