Apple Cider Time

In the fall, when apples were a-plenty, my Dad and I would gather all kinds from around the neighborhood. We used bushel baskets to gather up the apples. I would fill ‘em, and Dad would carry them to the old  truck ’til the bed was full.

Back home, stems and leaves were removed, rotten ones discarded, then washed down. Now, out came the apple press and crusher. We washed it down with water and bleach. It was set up in the garage and fastened down. A blue and white enamel pot was fitted with a topping of cheesecloth and slid under the press. The baskets were set atop each other beside the press.

Dad would crank the handle, I would stand on a wooden box and toss in the apples. Ground-up apples spewed out into a slatted barrel-like cage that contained the mash. When the cage was full, it would be topped with a wooden head. A screw was turned to press the mash. After a few turns, out of the tray would come a clear golden juice.


Then, back off the screw, clean out the cage and do it again and again until the apples were gone. I would have a drinking glass close by, to hold under the stream until full. Oh, how good that was.

Next step was to bottle this golden juice. Dad had a dipper that he dipped in the pot, then he poured the juice into a cheesecloth-covered funnel that was stuck into glass gallon jugs that we had scavenged from the dump. These jugs had been washed, scalded, and bleached days before — that was my job. Mom would bring scalded corks out to us, steaming, and in they would go. That would take all of a Saturday.

Sunday morning, Dad would haul a six-foot table from the cellar and drag it to the side of Summer Street. The table was made from an old Singer sewing machine base and a shed door. Then out came a green ice cream chair with a splintery wood seat. This was my stand!

We filled the table with gallons and half gallons of fresh apple juice. A sign went up, “Fresh Apple Juice.” A gallon was 50 cents, plus a five cent jug deposit. Half gallon was 35 cents plus deposit.

One day I sold ten gallons. Wow, $5! I got 10% — 50 cents. That would buy 10 candy bars or 10 Cokes or even a movie trip!

There was a customer that refused to pay the deposit and didn’t return the jugs they had promised to. They never got another jug of juice either.

How sweet it was — for about 3 or 4 days. It got tangy in about week or so. It was a good thing for corks. We would often find them popped out onto the porch floor as the juice fermented.

Dad would fill a small wood cask with apple juice and leave it in the cellar for about a year, we then had apple cider vinegar. I am now using a vinegar I made in 1975.  Up-date— GONE !

                                                       Dad’s old vinegar keg. c. 1939 – 1975.

Some 30 years later– My kids & friends using the same equipment as my Dad & I.



W. Ray Freden, 70 years, Marshfield & Seaview.

3 Replies to “Apple Cider Time”

  1. How cool is this!! My family used to make homemade apple butter at all of our family reunions! I love your stories!

  2. Our family is still doing the cider party that has been going on for years. Great tradition. Love all the old story’s on here.

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