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I Want to Make Apple Cider

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I don't know if an appliance exists that will give me clear apple juice from fresh apples.

I have worked at a winery and pressed fresh orchard apples into the most delightful apple cider I have EVER had.
The machine grated/ground the apples into a bag and then squeezed the juice/cider out of the bag.

My juicer, an Omega auger type will make some foamy cloudy apple juice and if I juice strictly apples eventually I just get mush that will not go through the auger.

I know bigger machines exist.
But I want something that will press, say a quart at a time.
Does something exist which will do this fo rme?
Or am I just dreaming?

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  1. You need a home-sized apple press. Here is one source:

    http://www.happyvalleyranch.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      Thank you.
      I have seen those.
      Was just hoping there might be something that allows me to grind and press with the same machine and be relatively easy to clean up.
      I love me some fresh apple cider--I just don't want to have spend an hour cleaning up from making a quart of cider.

      1. re: GH1618

        Ages ago I made a press similar to the Yakima model. We had an apple tree in the back yard and there were a lot of apples that we needed to do something with. I think I only used it one or two years as it was a lot of work and I could drive a couple of miles into the Western New York country side and buy a couple of gallons for next to nothing.

      2. Hi, Sparklebright:

        How much are you planning to make? You can usually rent a combo mill and press from homebrew places. And 3 of the 4 presses GH1618 pointed you to have mills on them.

        These home presses don't exert the same kind of pressure as the commercial presses' hydraulic rams do, so you might consider an overnight soak of your pomace with a solid dose of pectic enzymes to extract more sweet cider. If you sulfite at the same time, you shouldn't have a bad degree of browning. Also, I recommend press bags, no maker what press you end up using.

        You consuming this sweet, or are you going to make hard? Oh, you might also want to mix about 10% crab apples into the mix for tannins.

        Have Fun,
        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        10 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          I just want to make about a quart or two at a time.
          Hadn't thought too much about hard cider.
          Once I bought a couple of gallons from a roadside vendor.
          Drank one and the other gallon kind of got lost in the back of the fridge.

          Several months later I discovered that it had turned into the most delicious sparkling bubbly cider.
          I'm not sure it had much alcohol in it, think it was more lacto fermentation cuz I do quite a bit of that.

          With all the labor saving products out there I just wondered if there was some home appliance made for pressing cider.
          Or if some clever kitchen bunny had discovered an EASY way to do it.

          1. re: Sparklebright

            Hi, Sparklebright: "...it had turned into the most delicious sparkling bubbly cider."

            Probably the single largest epiphany of humankind.

            Oh, it had alcohol, like 6% ABV. Between the yeasts stuck on the skins and the heirlooms in the vendor's press bags, it was just a matter of time. The flash Pasteurizing they do just slows it down. You ought to try the reefer version of cherry cider sometime--same gallon plastic jug in the back of the reefer, leave it alone until it bulges. Puts Framboise to abject shame.

            Have you seen Annie Proulx's cider book?

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Say What?
              Cherry?
              Cider?
              Sounds awesome!
              I will definitely check the book out.
              Thank you!

              I make lacto fermented pickles, relishes, sodas etc which are always in my fridge so I'm still not sure how many opportunistic micro organisms were involved in the production of my sparkly bubbly.
              Would love to experiment more if I had enough refrigerator real estate.

              1. re: Sparklebright

                Hi, Sparklebright:

                You're on the road to Perdition, that's for sure. Next step is a carboy and airlock on the back porch and a crown capper. You usually don't realize you're doomed until you catch yourself dumpster diving for bottles (I'll save you that indignity--just find a Chinese resto that serves a lot of Tsing Tao beer in 22-oz glass).

                You really can make--and keep--quality hard cider at home. The Proulx book is a good basic intro.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  lol..Been there.
                  Already have a bottle corker--Kombucha.
                  Gallon glass jugs from Grape Juice--lacto fermented sodas.
                  5 gallon glass carboys show up at my local Vallue Village occasionally.
                  tsk tsk

                  So many fun things to try! Yes!

          2. re: kaleokahu

            Talofa, T!
            Do you use your Champion for grinding your apples? Grinding and juicing?

            1. re: MacGuffin

              Kia Orana, MacG:

              No, (1) I make around 50G at a time, so it would take forever; (2) the Champion grinds too fine for my liking; and (3) I like to let the wet pomace soak awhile before the press.

              I borrow true apple mills from friends--they're kinda like wood chippers, except food grade.

              Talofa,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu

                COOL!!! I'm interested in all things juice/juicer related. I've had a Norwalk (1000 pressure on the hydraulic side) for three years and so I get stellar results for just about any kind of juice but haven't done much apple-only (I'm guessing I should). I remember years ago buying some cider and letting it sit at the back of the fridge for a long time; it ended up sparkling but not yet boozy (I'm almost allergic to alcohol and can't stomach even very small amounts). It had become drier and was very, very yummy. :)

                BTW, the president of Norwalk told me a year or so ago that someone in Hawaii sent the company a rather huge amount of macadamia nuts to determine whether or not it was worth his while to invest in a juicer to make macadamia butter. The employees were in HEAVEN!

                1. re: MacGuffin

                  Hi, Mac:

                  Cider is necessarily low-alcohol, with most apples' theoretical maximum of about 6%. You can (and I do sometimes) chaptalize with sugars or honey to boost the ending octane a bit.

                  The reefer method is fine, but I would sulfite first and then pitch a low-temp (like lager) yeast. Better yet if you get your sweet cider from a place that squeezes and allows you to buy un-Pasteurized, so you get the native yeasts from the pressbags. You can test spritz by tasting, but if you want a little spritz and not much buzz, a cheap brix tester can help you dial it in. Oh, and I'd use a jug with a snap-on plastic lid so that you do not have a cider explosion if you wait too long.

                  Have Fun,
                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    How 'bout just letting it sit in the fridge until it gets fizzy?

          3. Eh, I just use my juice extractor. No peeling or coring necessary. If I want to get the foam off I use a strainer. I've used the kitchen aid attachment years ago but it's not worth the time and effort IMO.

            1. I have an English friend who cracks me on the knuckles every time I refer to fresh-pressed apple juice as cider. Cider is alcoholic, she insists. I've come around to her way of thinking.

              Pear cider, she tells me, is called perry.

              Mmmmmmm. And it's all so much better when it is skillfully fermented!

              1. Rather than a press, you might want to consider a hand-crank food strainer (see, for example, http://www.alliedkenco.com/strainer-f...). I'm not sure whether with a hard fruit like an apple that it would do the job of crushing, though-- you might need to do some pre-crushing with something else.

                Many years ago I bought a press at a yard sale, but needed something to crush apples for cider. I found a book, Woodwork for Winemakers by Colin John Dart and D. A. Smith (see Amazon), that had plans for a wooden crusher/grinder for fruit. I built it (really, something sorta like it, based on available materials and tools {G}) and it works fine for apples. If you (or someone you know) have some basic woodworking skills and tools, it's not a terribly difficult project.

                As I was looking up the Woodwork for Winemakers book, I also checked Amazon for "fruit press" and they have lots of options. (The "Sponsored Links" section after the search results had some interesting-sounding links, too.) One thing they listed among the results is a "Fox Run Ricer" ("Fox Run" is the brand name-- apparently they make some similar devices in both plastic and stainless steel). I've got a very similar plastic ricer which I've used as a press for small amounts of pureed ginger (ginger juice is a great marinade component), and it works well. The press holds about a cup of material, so it would be possible to do a quart of juice, although it might take a while. And of course there'd still be the crush problem to deal with.

                Yet another idea is to look around for an old lard press/sausage stuffer-- there should be some on eBay. They typically held about one or two gallons, so they might be overkill for a one-quart batch, and crushing would still be required, but with the use of a press cloth they should work okay for cider (although they might not develop as much pressure as you'd like).