Thursday, 29 August 2013

Juicy bits

Yesterday, we finally got around to picking the pears. Or what pears there were left, anyway.

We've lost loads in the last week or so. Some have ripened overnight on the tree,  many were attacked by wasps and ruined.   I've raked up kilos of damaged pears and composted them. That part of the chickens free range area is full of wasps all day.

Still, we picked lots yesterday, all the ones we could reach with a step ladder. The many that were rotten on the tree were picked and composted, the remainder were put in crates.   There were too many wasps to even think about pressing them last night, so we decided we'd do it this morning before the wasps were around.

Work got in the way, and we didn't start anywhere near early.  

While DH set up the equipment, I sorted the pears and put them in the sinks to wash.  Yet more were discarded, having turned rotten overnight.

The sinks were full long before I had emptied all the crates
I washed the pears, and then put them into large receptacles, making a note of the weight of each batch. In total we had just over 25kg for juicing.

DH then put them through the crusher (we use a Shark Mill). When the crusher bucket was full, the pulp was transferred to the hydro press.  The pears were so ripe that the juices started flowing immediately. 

We realised we could probably get all the pears in one batch if we tried. I put on some food-safe gloves and pressed the pulp down. DH then processed the remaining pears, and we did get it all in.

Later research told us that was probably not the best thing to do - so we'll take a different tack when we come to do the apples.

The hydro press worked really well, and it was even easier than using the screw press.   Mind you, pears are easier to juice than apples, so the real test will come in a month or so.

We ended up with 15 litres of juice, which is about a 60% conversion rate.  We hit 50% with our large screw press last time,  so the extra is good.  I suspect that if we hadn't filled the hydro press so full, we might have achieved a higher conversion rate.

The wasps were a real nuisance.  We've filtered the juice, just in case we had any kamikaze wasps in there.    DH has decanted it into demijohns,  and has started converting it to pear cider.

Can't wait to try it....

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