Pressed for apples

Pressed for apples

It’s taken nearly a decade, countless hours of design and building, weeks of saving milk jugs, and wheelbarrows of neighbors’ apples, but we have finally have our own fresh apple cider. 

This was far easier than the alternative.  No, going to the store and buying cider was not even an option.  Sit down to hear about our “alternative” method we tried during a trial run last year. 

The “trial run” was very manual – requiring us to cut every apple to fit in our food processor, which only held 3 cups.  Then after collecting about 3 gallons of pulp (this required several dozen batches of food processing), we used the car jack and a block of wood on the frame of our garage to compress the apples in a 5 gallon bucket.  The bucket was fitted with a paint strainer and my husband had drilled holes in the bucket to drain the cider into a tote.  We then had to funnel the contents of the tote into the jugs.  Since my husband had been wanting to do for years, several of the jugs leaked after sitting in the attic for years!  Doesn’t that sound fun?  We shockingly did not burn out the food processor motor enroute to making 13 gallons of cider.

This year, we have a scratter to grind the apples and a press (not a guillotine) to squeeze out the delicious golden drink.  Altogether we made 25 gallons of cider with this improved process.

Recipe:  One wheelbarrow of apples = about 5 gallons of cider!  Yum!

The apple scratter consists of a solid birch dowel that was cut down to size by a lathe. The ends were fitted with old salvaged link belt bearings. Stainless steel screws in an alternating pattern were added to the dowel and inserted into the white pine wood box. On one end a pully was added with an old motor. The old motor used was too high of an RPM and well just too old and after a while blew the breaker. The motor was replaced with a smaller scroll saw motor and that seems to work well but just takes a little longer.

The apple scratter consists of a solid birch dowel that was cut down to size by a lathe. The ends were fitted with old salvaged link belt bearings. Stainless steel screws in an alternating pattern were added to the dowel and inserted into the white pine wood box. On one end a pully was added with an old motor. The old motor used was too high of an RPM and well just too old and after a while blew the breaker. The motor was replaced with a smaller scroll saw motor and that seems to work well but just takes a little longer.

Thank you internet for plenty of press design ideas, but eventually settled with this concept. The press consists entirely of old lumber sitting in our shed and a sheet of UHMW plastic from the neighbor that was put to various uses. A bottle jack serves as the force to press out the precious cider.

Thank you internet for plenty of press design ideas, but eventually settled with this concept. The press consists entirely of old lumber sitting in our shed and a sheet of UHMW plastic from the neighbor that was put to various uses. A bottle jack serves as the force to press out the precious cider.

Precious juice flowing out!

Precious juice flowing out!

All smiles after a glass of fresh cider.

All smiles after a glass of fresh cider.