farmer using machine to crush apples and make fresh apple cider
(Image credit: Pavol Klimek / Getty Images)

When searching for a new home, people tend to focus on location, price, and of course the house itself. The presence of fruit trees is hardly at the top of anyone's list, but it can be a delightfully welcome surprise to find a productive apple, pear or cherry tree in your new yard.

Such was the case when we bought our house years ago. The mature apple tree in our backyard not only produced an abundance of fruit, but the red apples were crisp, sweet and juicy. I'm pretty fussy about my apples, and these were among the best I'd ever tasted.

What To Do With Apples

Hubby and I quickly realized our tree was producing more apples than we could eat fresh. As we didn't want our bounty to go to waste, we quickly brainstormed the many ways to use this delicious fruit. From pies, tarts and apple dumplings to apple butter and jelly, our mouths watered in anticipation. But when hubby suggested apple cider, my eyes lit up.

Apple cider never fails to evoke memories from my childhood. Every year, when we attended our county fair, my father would buy a gallon of fresh-squeezed apple cider. And when that was gone, we would visit the local orchard for more. Sitting on the porch swing sipping apple cider and relishing the fleeting warmth of the last few days of summer are two joys of life that just go hand in hand.

Making Apple Cider

As hubby drove to a friend's house to borrow an apple chopper and cider press, I picked and washed our abundance of apples. I had never made cider before, and I was surprised at how easy it was. Before long, the golden juice poured from the press. I couldn't wait. I held a glass in the stream of cider and had my first taste. It was just like I remembered: sweet, yet tart and oh so refreshing!

Once I got that first taste, I set to work pasteurizing the cider and pouring it into big, clean gallon jugs to store in the refrigerator. They didn't last long!

I find making my own homemade cider is just as enjoyable as drinking it. But while a fancy chopper and cider press are fun, they're not essential. All you really need are apples, and something to press them. Even a regular juicer will work just fine.

It takes about a peck, or 30 to 40 medium-sized apples, to make a gallon of cider. Even a dwarf apple tree, once well established, will easily produce this much in a season. So if you're interested in making fresh apple cider from your own apple trees, check out, the leading online retailer of high-quality trees, shrubs and perennials.

Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.