Bring your fruit and have it pressed into fruit juice at Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan

Are your apple and pear trees laden with fruit this year? John Hood, The Gardening Guru, has the solution.

Are your apple and pear trees laden with fruit this year? John Hood, The Gardening Guru, has the solution.

He’s bringing back the people from Pressing Matter, an up-Island business that owns a trailer-mounted professional-sized juice maker.

They’ll be setting up in the lower parking lot at the BC Forest Discovery Centre on Saturday, Aug. 20, starting at 9 a.m.

So, if you’ve got 200 pounds or more of apples, pears or quinces, this is a great chance to get some juice made.

“It’s all contained in a trailer. They open up the sides and it’s got a chute and a grinder, with the baskets,” Hood said.

“They heat it all up, pasteurize it and it all goes into a five-litre plastic bag, then into a cardboard box and you can put it on your shelf.”

Hood said he’s received the approval of Forest Discovery Centre manager Chris Gale.

“It’s a community service to bring this business down here for the day,” he said.

So, pack up that fruit and drive past the Centre’s main entrance on Drinkwater Road, and over the hill as if you were heading down to the lake. There’s a big parking lot at the bottom where the pressing will take place.

The cost is based on a sliding scale. Those with a great deal of fruit pay less.

It’s $8.50 for each five litre box, if you have from one to 20 boxes; $7.50 for 21-50 boxes, $6.50 for 51-100 boxes etc.

People who just want to watch what’s happening must pay to come in through the Forest Discovery Centre main gate, and can then take the train down for viewing.

“The only ones who are going through the gate are the people with the fruit,” Hood said.

The event was a huge success last year.

“Last year, we did 6,000 pounds in a day. They’ll be going until 4 p.m. and may be back the next day if there’s a need.”

There will probably be another pressing day offered on Oct. 1 for those with late season apples and pears, he said.

Although the fruit will pass through a rinse system on the conveyor to the processor, the company “strongly recommends” that your fruit should be relatively clean without obvious dirt and debris.

The processor will slice the fruit into a mash of optimal consistency which allows maximum juice yield. This mash is pumped on to a hydraulic packing press where it is squeezed with gentle pressure to thoroughly extract the juice which filters through a press cloth.

The juice accumulates in a holding tank before proceeding for pasteurization, which heats the juice to approximately 79 degrees C for about 15 seconds, eliminating bacteria without altering the natural flavour of the juice.

The pasteurized juice will be sealed in modern, environmentally-friendly, BPA free, five-litre “bag in box” packaging.

The box lies sideways in the fridge and will last for three months, according to Pressing Matter, who add that “the pressing process leaves behind an almost completely dry mash of your apples or pears which can be used as compost or animal feed.”

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