Making your own fresh apple cider with a press is a fun fall activity. It can be a fabulous way to use up those organic apples from old apple trees, or you can also buy your apples to make this delicious healthy drink. Learn how to make apple cider with a press, and enjoy this wonderful juice from your apples.
Harvest time on the flower farm usually involves harvesting flowers and flower seeds, but also involves the harvest of delicious fruit such as heirloom apples. On a crisp fall day there is nothing better than to harvest these wonderful apples to make the best tasting apple cider.
We have so many old apple trees, although sometimes the fruit gets neglected, as not all the apples are tasty right off the tree.
Although these old apple trees can very productive, the fruit often has marks and blemishes, so they aren’t used as much as they could be.
When we discovered an antique apple press owned by my partner’s grandfather, we knew that it could be put to good use with all the apples that we have growing at the farm.
Making apple cider is a great way to use up those blemished fruit from an old apple tree, and the end product is amazing. It’s also a great way for using up a surplus of apples if you happen to have many on hand.
When we found this old apple press, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to make the apple cider than with this press from generations past.
What Is Apple Cider?
Apple cider, also known as soft apple cider, is made from the juice that is extracted from ripe apples right after harvest. It is darker and more opaque than commercial apple juice, because it still contains tiny bits of apple pulp. This cider is the freshly squeezed juice from apples, and although filtered to remove some of the apple pulp, it still contains the fresh apple benefits.
Hard apple cider is a different version of apple cider, and one which contains alcohol. Hard cider is made by fermenting the juice of apples.
Commercial apple juice that you usually find in the grocery stores has generally been filtered and heated to produce a more clear form of juice. As well this juice will often have ascorbic acid added to the product.
To make apple cider, the apples are first ground into a pulp, which is called a pomace. The pomace is then pressed to remove the juice, or apple cider.
Using a mixture of different apple varieties can enhance the cider flavour.
For safety, apple cider should be pasteurized or heated, to remove any bacteria or pathogens.
Heating also destroys the bacteria that can convert the natural sugars in the cider to alcohol.
Do I Need An Apple Press To Make Cider?
Apple cider does not have to be made with a press. If you don’t have your own cider press, there are other ways in which you can make apple cider.
Apple cider can be made with a juicer. It’s the freshly squeezed juice from the apple.
It can also be made by processing the apples in a food processor and squeezing the juice out of the ground apples with a cheesecloth, allowing the contents to drip into a container.
The press however does make this process so much easier.
Another way to make cider, involves cooking the apples in a stock pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker, and mashing the fruit when soft and cooked. This easy homemade apple cider is a great option if you don’t have an apple press.
This soft cooked mash is often flavoured with sugar, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Once the mixture has simmered for several hours, the homemade sweet cider can be strained with cheesecloth to remove the fruit. The end result is a tasty cooked cider.
Another option is to borrow a press, if you know someone who has one.
As you can see there are many options even if you don’t have your own apple cider press.
How To Make Apple Cider With A Press
I like to make my own apple cider with organic apples which are free of any pesticides.
If you plan to pick apples from an apple orchard, make sure that you know the details of your fruit. And make sure to pick enough apples, as pressing apple cider takes a lot of apples.
How To Use An Old Cider Press
We used an antique cast iron fruit press. It is a very heavy press, and I believe may have been used for other functions as well, such as sausage making.
It was perfect for making the apple cider.
Should You Wash Apples Before Pressing?
You should definitely wash your apples before pressing, to clean off any dirt, especially if they have had contact with the ground.
It’s also important to wash the equipment that you will be using to process and press the apples for making apple cider.
Directions For Using The Apple Press:
- The first step is to gather up your apples, and give them a good rinse before you start this process.
- The next step, if you have a grinder, is to grind the apples to make the pulp, or softened pomace.
- If you don’t have a grinder, chop up the apples into smaller pieces. There is no need to remove the core.
- Place a piece of cheesecloth inside the press. We initially did our pressing without cheesecloth, and used a strainer to catch the cider as it flowed into the catchment container, to strain off any mash.
- Put a container in place to catch the apple cider flowing from the press during the juice extraction.
- Add the ground or cut apple pieces to the apple press.
- Connect the pressing lid.
- Turn the hand crank of the press, compressing the apples and forcing the cider from the mash.
- Collect your fresh pressed juice, or cider.
How Long Do You Press Apples For Cider?
The length of time to press apples is dependent on the number of apples that you are processing, and the methods which you are using to grind the apples down to extract the juices.
It is a very simple process, and does not take much time at all. The pressing process itself is fairly quick, once the apples have been ground or chopped and added to the press.
Pressing involves turning the hand crank on the apple press to squeeze all the juices out of the apple pomace.
You will know when this process is complete, when no more juice is flowing into your container.
Do You Need To Grind Apples Before Pressing?
You do not have to grind the apples before pressing, however it will make the process much easier.
The first time we used our apple press we did not grind or even cut our apples before pressing. We used the whole apples.
It took a lot of strength to press the apples in this state, although it was accomplished without incident.
A grinder is a mechanized system for breaking down the apples and starting the release of the juices from the apples. Grinding the apples before pressing makes the pressing process a lot easier.
Not everyone will have a grinder, so there are other options available.
I would highly recommend chopping the apples if you do not have a grinder, and they will still be able to be pressed in smaller pieces.
You can further process in a food processor, which is another good option if you have one on hand.
Another option is a blender, which does an excellent job of chopping up the apples into fine pieces and extracting the juice.
Do You Need To Core Apples Before Pressing?
There is no need to core the apples before pressing, as the the core material makes up some of the pomace, which will be will strained from the cider during the pressing process.
Don’t worry about the apple seeds, they will all be strained out.
Can You Use Bruised Apples For Cider?
You can use apples that have some bruising, however it’s a good idea to use fresh apples that are in good shape for your cider.
Some people may leave the bruised parts on their apples, but I like to remove them, as I find the flavour much better with fresh and unbruised fruit.
Is Pressed Apple Cider Good For You?
Pressed apple cider contains the goodness of raw apples, including vitamins and minerals.
Eating an apple will deliver more nutritional benefits as there will be more pulp and fibre, although apple cider is also a good choice.
Compared to the commercial clear filtered apple juice, pressed apple cider contains more polyphenol compounds, which are beneficial for health.
How Many Apples Does It Take To Make A Gallon Of Cider?
The number of apples required to make a gallon of cider will vary, depending on the type of apples used and the juice content of each. On average, it will take approximately thirty pounds of apples to make one gallon of apple cider, or a gallon of juice. It takes a lot of apples to make fresh juice, or fresh apple cider.
What Can You Do With Apple Mash After Pressing?
Apple mash can be used for compost, and is a great addition to the compost pile.
It can also be used for animal feed, and can be given to livestock such as ducks, chickens, and pigs. If you don’t have livestock, consider leaving some out for the wildlife.
Crushed apples are such a sweet and tender treat for the animals.
How To Store Homemade Apple Cider
Raw unpasteurized apple cider can be a safety risk, as it may contain bacteria which can place some individuals at risk.
Bacteria from animals such as cattle or even deer, can contaminate apples found on the ground.
The best way to remove this risk is to pasteurize the cider by heating it to 160°F to kill the harmful bacteria. Then you can rest assured that the cider is safe to drink.
Store in the refrigerator for up to five days. I notice that some pasteurized cider at the grocery stores allow an expiration date of up to one month post pressing.
The cider can also be frozen for later use.
Pressing fresh cider is a wonderful way to use your apples every fall, especially if you have fruit trees.
Even if you don’t have an orchard during apple season, you may still have access to one. Many local orchards open up you picks during the harvest season. It can be a fun adventure, which you never know, may result in some delicious hot apple cider in the end.
If you have an opportunity to press some apples to make sweet apple cider, you just may be starting a new fall tradition, one that’s healthy and delicious, and one from which lasting memories are made.
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Have you ever made apple cider with a press? If not, have you made apple cider without a press? Be sure to leave a comment below and share your experience!
- fresh clean apples
- cheesecloth or strainer
- apple press
- Gather up your apples, and wash them well before you start this process.
- If you have a grinder, grind the apples to make the pulp, or softened pomace.
- If you don't have a grinder, chop up the apples into smaller pieces. There is no need to remove the core.
- Place a piece of cheese cloth inside the press. We initially did our pressing without cheesecloth, and used a strainer to catch the cider as it flowed into the catchment container, to strain off any mash.
- Put a container in place to catch the apple cider flowing from the press.
- Add the ground or cut apple pieces to the apple press.
- Connect the pressing lid.
- Turn the handle of the press, compressing the apples and forcing the cider from the mash.
- Collect your cider.
The number of apples required to make a gallon of cider will vary, depending on the type of apples used and the juice content of each. On average, it will take approximately thirty pounds of apples to make one gallon of apple cider.