What’s New at School: The Apple Pressing Process

Orchard Park

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — A biology teacher is giving his class some hands on learning experience – just in time for Halloween!

News 4’s Gabrielle Mediak joins us from Orchard Park High School to show us the apple pressing process. 

Apple Cider is a Fall favorite and Orchard Park High School students got the chance to make it themselves from start to finish.

Mark VanDerwater has been teaching his biology students the apple pressing process for the past 12 years. 

“This gives kids a chance to manually take something they recognize as being a living thing, an apple, a fruit they can pick from a tree and turn it into a food product that they’re also familiar with,” he said. 

He uses a replica 19th century cider press. It’s the same basic hardware and lumber used 200 years ago. “Crush the apples up,” said VanDerwater.  “There’s a wheel in there with teeth that will break the skin, break up the cells and create a shredded apple mush.” 

Once the bucket below fills up, it’s time to press. “The insides of the cell are being squeezed out and that’s the juice that we enjoy,” he said.  “So a normal person of normal strength can create quite a lot of cider in a short amount of time.”

The seeds get strained out,  it drains from the spout into the pitcher and you’ve got some sweet cider to enjoy.

VanDerwater says it’s important to give kids that interactive learning experience.

“They’re able to do something with their hands, be outside and be able to connect with the world that you don’t get to sitting at a desk with a book,” he said.  

And his students certainly agree. Freshman, Bradley Casto said, “It’s not everyday that you get to see how food is made and experience it first hand. Usually your just buy it from the store so it’s a really cool experience.”

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