The Adventures of a First Time Juicer

Ah, fall. ‘Tis the time for leaves crunching underfoot, warm harvest soups and stews in your crockpot, and the time to pick apples. For the past 3 years, Justin and I have been members of Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE). This wonderful organization strives to find the fruit hidden in our city. As a Fruit Captain, I organize fruit picks in Edmontonians’ yards. This fruit, that otherwise would have gone to waste, is divided between the volunteer fruit pickers, OFRE, and a local charity. It’s a great way to save fresh local organic fruit from ending up in the landfill, plus, you get to go home with a plethora of free fruit! This year, Justin and I opted to picked as many apples as we could.

Last week, we were extremely fortunate to be invited to Kevin Kossowan‘s to partake in a fantastic evening filled with great company, amazing food, and (the crowning glory) apple juicing. Some of you may know Kevin as the co-founder and owner Lactuca, as the Canadian Prairie’s Slow Food Hero, or as the co-owner and operator of Shovel and Fork. All around, he is extremely passionate about local food, making it his life’s work. We could not have been more excited to be invited to use his famous juicer.

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Upon entering Kevin’s yard, we were blown away at his efficient use of space. It seemed as if every square inch of the backyard was being used to grow food. Here are his famous cold frames, and his cob oven. DSC04743

The cob oven has its own story. I encourage you to watch it. DSC04745

The cold frames help supply greens for Lactuca, one of his businesses. DSC04746DSC04747

Here’s an example of how Kevin has managed to efficiently use every single inch of his yard for food production. This tiny triangle of greenery is wedged between a cold frame and a walking path. This is pure genius! It inspired Justin and I to do some future crafty landscaping in our yard.

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These cold frames extend Kevin growing season from April to November. In Edmonton, that is virtually unheard of! DSC04753

Ok now on to the juicing. This was the first day of many that Kevin would be juicing for 2013. He writes down the date and how many liters he juiced that day. DSC04754

Once you enter the juice pressing domain, it is imperative to have a glass of cider in your hand. DSC04755

Justin and I arrived a little late in the queue to have our apples pressed, so we watched and got the feel for the whole operation.DSC04759

Here’s Jeff, pressing his fresh apple juice. DSC04761

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The whole operation flowed seamlessly. DSC04765

After a while, we wanted to get in on this action and help. I did so by helping to crush the apples in the garburator. That’s right. Kevin uses a garburator to crush the apples before they go into the press. This ensures that you get the most juice possible out of the apples. Genius! I do not, however, think that the inventor of the garburator had this in mind when he came up with the idea… DSC04766

We also used quite unorthodox methods to break up an apple jam. Oh well – It worked!DSC04767

We took a break from apple juicing for dinner. Oh boy, was it ever good!DSC04768

Slow, fire roasted chicken and pork from Nature’s Green Acres.DSC04769

Shelling dried peas and drinking wine. What a fantastic evening!DSC04772

The table was set… DSC04773

and the feast was on!DSC04774

This chicken liver mouse was to die for. It’s a Julia Child recipe! Stay tuned for a future recipe post!DSC04775

Oven roasted chicken wings. hmm….DSC04777

Here was my plate, all loaded with goodness. (Including the barley and sweet corn risotto I brought. Again, stay tuned for a future recipe post!)DSC04779

We resumed our juice pressing after dinner…DSC04780

Justin was now the master apple crusher.DSC04781

Our tasty crabs, ready for the crusher. DSC04785

Here was our apple gunk, ready for the pressing. DSC04786

Jarret helped us out by showing us now the press worked. First, you envelop the gunk in a large, stretchy bed sheet. DSC04787

Next, you lay the top piece of plywood on top of the bed sheet. DSC04788

Then, you pile it high with 2x4s. DSC04789

Next, you install the hydraulic car jack (yes, we used a hydraulic car jack to press juice!)DSC04790

Then press it down….DSC04792

and away it went. DSC04793

Our apple gunk was being a little finicky, so we had to just let it do its thing and wait. DSC04794 DSC04797

After a while, we folded the sheet over a second time, to get the juices flowing a little freer. DSC04798

In the end, we got 20 liters of golden, delicious, fresh apple juice to take home with us. DSC04783Thank you, Kevin, for the fantastic evening, for opening your home to us and sharing your knowledge.

While I cannot tell you yet what we’ve decided to make with all the juice (it’s a surprise!), know that it will be a fantastic adventure all on it’s own.

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3 Comments on “The Adventures of a First Time Juicer”

  1. […] The Adventures of a First Time Juicer → […]

  2. […] my post on apple pressing  and how, at the end of the post, I promised to tell you what we made with all that juice? Well, here […]

  3. […] perogies with my Baba, (that post now has an incredible 16,870 views!). Justin and I learned how to juice the apples from our yard for the first time, and we undertook our first adventures in vegetable seeding and […]


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