In August this year I moved to Somerset where traditional cider making is very much alive. We live in a small village which – like many local places – used to have a community cider press which locals would use together to produce their cider.
The press is now decommissioned so we have put together a ramshackle set of equipment; a press made from a couple of old car jacks and a wooden frame and a scratter (which mulches the apples before pressing) made from a knife blade welded onto a drill bit. Our neighbours offered us the use of their orchard so since October we have been busy collecting in the apples, pressing them and fermenting the cider in our airing cupboard.
I love being able to make our own cider from trees about 20 yards from our cottage! Now the cider is ready we have been enjoying it mulled with cloves and spices on cold winter evenings.