When we make apple juice, we do things quite differently to most apple juice producers:
- juice is made only from March until June or July, while the apples are still relatively fresh off the tree
- only apples that taste good are used
- rotten apples are rejected and sent to compost
- nothing is added other than a small amount of ascorbic acid (or Vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant and prevents juice from turning brown)
- a traditional style “rack and cloth” press is used
- yield-increasing enzymes are never used
Apples to be pressed are held in bulk bins, which are then lowered into clean water and floated out to prevent bruising. They go over the sorting table, and any apples with rots or likely poor flavour are removed and put in the compost bin.
The apples are then washed and brushed, and go up an elevator to the shredder, which is mounted on the top of the “rack and cloth” press. The pulverised apples fall from the shredder onto a cloth laying in a 60cm square frame below. When the cloth is full, it is folded over to make a parcel, known as a “cheese”. This process is repeated seven times, until we have a stack of cheeses ready for pressing. The stack of cheeses is then placed under the press.
Juice is pumped into a 2000 litre stainless steel vat, from where it is bottled. We generally press around 3,200 kg of apples to fill the vat. The juice is pasteurized by heating to 83 degrees for 35 seconds, and then cooled to 76 degrees for bottling. We bottle in glass to maintain juice quality.