Apple Pressing: don’t let good fruit go to waste!

Our resident spirits expert and OctoberFeast trustee Mark Ridgwell has worked hard co-ordinating the Lewes OctoberFeast apple press since 2011. Here he tells us how to store your fruit ready for pressing, and why there’s still no reason to let your garden apples and pears go to waste.

ApplePress-2016-v1For many years, Lewes would have been surrounded by apple orchards but when the railway arrived, Kent was quick to take advantage of the trains and were the first to deliver their apples to London. The Sussex orchards shrank as a result, but we still have many apple trees, including numerous traditional varieties,  in private gardens and on common land. The one downside, is that lots of our local fruit goes to waste every year.

Once the homemade apple pies have lost their appeal and more than enough jars of apple sauce have been bottled, still too much fruit remains to pick and eat fresh from the trees, the remainder is often left to rot.

The answer? Prepare for the arrival of the Lewes OctoberFeast Apple Press in its new 2016 location – the terrace behind the Lamb on the corner of Market Lane and Fisher Street. We’ll be there with our team of volunteers on the 24th or 25th Sept between 10.30am and 4pm.

If your fruit is ready to pick or falls before these dates, collect it, wrap it in newspaper and store it in the dark in a cardboard box. Bring your fruit along to the apple press and the OctoberFeast volunteers will squeeze the very best out of it, whether that be a small bag of apples or literally pram-loads of fruit.

Your fresh juice is perfect for cider-making, drinking and culinary uses, plus it freezes really well. Since we started in 2011, people have been amazed at the quality and quantity of juice we press – even from the humble Bramley that’s found in so many gardens.

This year we’re expecting a bumper crop, and our experience suggests different varieties do better each year. So, whatever your variety, whatever your quantity, we welcome all and look forward to amazing you with the flavour of the juice we press for you.

Though every pressing will vary, around 15kg of fruit can produce approximately 15 ltrs of juice. Bring your own bottles if possible (plastic milk bottles are ideal) and be sure to clean them well first in just-boiled water. We ask for just 50p per litre of the juice that we press to contribute to operating costs, and if you need bottles on the day, they’ll be available at 50p each.

So let none of your fruit go to waste this year. Enjoy litres of fresh juice squeezed from your own apples.

If you wish to volunteer this year you would be most welcome, please email Mark.

OctoberFeast Apple Pressing
24th & 25th Sept
The terrace behind The Lamb, Fisher St
50p per litre


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