Golden juice

from Schwaz gardens



"Apple Juice Sommelier"



It is already also dramatic what happens there. For the fruits, anyway. For them, it becomes tight and tighter in the course of this procedure. The pressure between the rollers and the net increases relentlessly and what was once a proud, beautiful fruit - whether apple, pear or grape - is quite mercilessly transformed in this machine into a squishy something, a "Baatz". But this is only one end of the story. The other end, the beautiful one, tastes delicious, is exceedingly healthy, and honors the fruit for a long time to come with every sip. "The juice from your own fruit is more appreciated again. It has gained enormously in value in recent years," Walter Kreidl knows. There is something about the proud joy with which the fruit is first brought to the Schwaz fruit press in large baskets to be taken home after being transformed into bottles. "It's beautiful," Walter says. And it tastes good.

Walter Kreidl is chairman of the Schwaz fruit and gardening association. Many years already. "I came to it like the virgin to the child," he recalls with a smile. The association had been looking for a chairman. "And my wife, Agnes, said, 'You do it.'" How could he have said no? That was more than 15 years ago and one of the first actions of the then new association board to breathe new life into fruit pressing.

The elegant way
"There was an old press at the time. It was in the building yard downstairs, but we barely had room there," Walter says. "By chance, we found out about the old press at the sisters' upstairs." At the sisters upstairs means in the convent of the Tertiary Sisters or "in the Fuggerhaus" at Ludwig-Penz-Strasse 21 in Schwaz. The room was expanded, tiled and designed to be kept clean at all times. That done, the members of the association installed the fruit press in their new home ... and quickly got started. "We did this primarily for the members, because some of them have a lot of fruit growing - some more, some less."

Whether more or less, the days of a summer apple, for example, are numbered quite quickly. Within three weeks, it and its siblings should be consumed or processed. Otherwise they are gone. The successfully harvested Schwazers - like all summer apple lovers of the world - have only a few options to make use of this short time span. Either eat as many apples as quickly as possible or enjoy them for weeks on cakes or in strudels. Both options have their pitfalls, however, whether in the gut or on the hips. They can be made into applesauce or otherwise preserved. Yes, there are ways to extend the half-life of an apple. But none is as elegant and none keeps the apple as fresh as pressing. It comes as a surprise to juice enthusiasts who are only familiar with tetrapack that about 0.6 to 0.7 liters of juice can be pressed from one kilo of apples. Walter: "You wouldn't think that from eating an apple, right?"

Walter and his team initially got to grips with the fruit using a so-called jaw press. It was a laborious procedure: packing the apples in cloths, pressing, unpacking, packing again, pressing - and washing the cloths every evening so that everything was clean again the next day. In 2010, the association bought the belt press, and Walter explains, "It's easier and works kind of like a road roller compacting asphalt." Relentless, that is. "At the bottom, the juice runs into a vat and comes through the centrifuge, and the heavy particles go to the outside," he says. The golden juice - the goal of the whole procedure - is bottled, must in a vat or barrel. Schoolchildren can regularly work on a small hand press themselves and then drink their juice. "That's always nice," says Walter, who also notes, "Depending on how the summer is, between 20,000 and 70,000 liters of juice are pressed every year."

Apple juice



Walter Kreidl

Pears must be crisp
It is not only apples, of course, from which the fruit press extracts the juice. Grapes also make their final grand appearance at the Fuggerhaus. Or pears. "With pears, it's important that they be crisp," Walter points out, noting that mealy pears are difficult if not impossible to use. In any case, the variety of Schwaz juices is enormous. No wonder, given all the varieties that are cherished in the gardens: "We have many good varieties in Schwaz, not foolishly modern ones, but also older trees that have been there for 30 to 40 years."

That it can be that 70,000 liters of juice leave the Fuggerhaus from the end of August - at harvest time, that is - is not only because the fruit press is there for everyone, so also for "club strangers," but not least also because of the enormous influx that the fruit and gardening association has experienced in recent years. At the beginning of his time as chairman, the association had just under 150 members; today it has over 600. "I'm very pleased about that," says Walter on behalf of the association team, which has its hands full during the "juice season" organizing the pressing times just like the machine itself. The fruit press, targeted tree campaigns and a lot of education or support in tree care contributed to the fact that more and more Schwazers have more and more fun with more and more trees.


Liter of juice can be squeezed from about a kilo of apples


From the fall of man to the orb
Apple trees are also magnificent, whether in spring, when their scent attracts bees and their meandering flowers between white and light pink pleases the eye, or just when the fruits develop in the course of the summer and in autumn plump and colorful bend the branches. No other fruit is as symbolic as the apple. From the fall of man in paradise to the apple as a companion of love goddesses or the fertility god Dionysus to the imperial apple as a symbol of power - since the Stone Age it has evolved with the people who knew how to honor this fruit. Also in Schwaz, where a connoisseurship has long since developed around the fruit press. "It's quite interesting to know how what tastes where," says Walter. The varietal Golden Delicious juice, for example, is mild and bright and also suitable for people with sensitive stomachs: "The Boskoop, on the other hand, has a strong sharpness, is darker because it has more acid and oxidizes more." A wonderful fruit ...


The fruit press of the Obst- Und Gartenbauverein Schwaz starts "to work" from the end of August. The seat is in the Fuggerhaus, Ludwig Penz Street 21, Press appointments are then under the number +43(0)680/1273748 vergeben.


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