#199: Cider Pressing Day
Our annual cider pressing and potluck, plus recipe for Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup.
Last weekend was our 6th Annual Cider Pressing and Potluck. The last few years we kept the pressing small with just a few close friends to help because of COVID, but this year we opened it up to all our friends. It was a wonderful celebration with family, friends, fun, and food.
Cider Pressing Day at Pie Cottage
It’s all hands on deck to make this special day happen. The week before, D & O glean apples from trees needing picking around the county. The press gets set up, along with washing stations, and the prep and potluck tables, too. Friends bring apples, containers to take pressed cider home, something to eat or drink for the potluck, kids, dogs, and lots of smiles.
First thing on cider pressing morning, I start in on the bread…four loaves this year…followed by a triple recipe of soup. That takes me up through early afternoon when I take a little break.
While I was making soup, new friends, Mark and Anne, joined me in the kitchen and kindly pitched in to help get two-hundred cloves of garlic ready for planting. They have recently moved to the Olympic Peninsula and were planting their own garlic for the first time soon as well so this was an opportunity to share a bit of garlic growing lore with them. Here are some previous newsletters and videos I have made with info about planting, peeling, and cleaning garlic, too.
Then we all headed outside to join the fun. There was live music, delicious food, a homemade swing that kids of all ages enjoyed, trapeze silk flying, and even juggling.
As the sun started to go down, I headed back into the kitchen to create the “Clean Out the Freezer Crisp” made with fruit that needed to be used up. This year there were gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and rhubarb. I didn’t get a good picture of it but the big lasagne pan I made it in was emptied pretty quickly!
So you can enjoy a bit of our day, too, I’ve made a little movie for you. (I think you’ll be able to see best if you view it full screen.)
Here’s to another great year!
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RECIPE: POTATO AND CHEDDAR CHEESE SOUP
This soup has become a tradition at our annual cider pressing. It will serve six but for a crowd you might want to double or even triple it.
What You Will Need
4 cups water or stock (vegetable, mushroom, or chicken)
4 medium red or Yellow Finn unpeeled potatoes diced
2 medium onions chopped
2 stalks celery sliced in 1/4 inch half moons
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (if tripling the recipe use a generous 4 cups, but if you really like cheese, go for more!)
2 tablespoons all purpose or gluten-free flour
2 cups milk or half and half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup parsley minced
How to Do It
Place water or stock in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, onions, celery, and salt. Turn heat to medium, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour. Slowly pour in the milk and stir while heating. Whisk in the salt and mustard. Add the cheese and let it melt.
Pour the milk and cheese mixture into the large pot with the cooked vegetables. Add the parsley. Simmer uncovered over low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir often to make sure it isn’t sticking or burning on the bottom.