Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY Cider Press

Summer is almost over and the rain of Gravensteins has come to an end.  The shelves are stocked with quarts of apple sauce for winter. This year we really wanted to try our hand at pressing some of the remaining fruit into sweet cidery goodness.  So the crafty men of the house came up with this cider press which I think is quite impressive.  



Some scrap wood, bolts, screws, a car jack, a bar for the crank, a spare five gallon bucket, and an old cookie sheet make up the materials for the press.  The apples need to be crushed before they get pressed, we used a mallet covered with a plastic bag.  The process works best if the bucket is full of crushed apples when you start.


A heavy block of wood and a tree round cut and put through the planer to make them smooth are the main pressing agents.  


The crank forces the blocks of wood to tighten down around the crushed apples which pushes the cider through the drilled holes in the bucket.  

For the first few gallons of cider we just poured the juice off of the cookie sheet into jars but have now found a round stainless steel plate with a lip into which we will drill a hole so the juice can run down into a jar below the press.  The bucket worked surprisingly well and there was very little pulp in the juice.  


We have been enjoying this last bit of summer sweetness every morning in our smoothies and in the evening warmed with spices.  It doesn't seem like we will have much for the freezer the way the kids have been guzzling it down.  The taste of fresh pressed cider is one of the seasonal experiences a happy childhood is made of.   

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