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Blog: Apple Cider Pressing

October 8, 2009

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My friends received an apple cider press for a wedding present long ago. Last week, they threw an Apple Cider Press Party, and what a treat!

Have you ever tasted apple cider fresh from the press (your own or a local cider mill)? WOW! The cider has a pure, refreshing flavor that's hard to beat.

Frankly, I was never crazy about apple cider before. However, I humbly revise my opinion. The difference between the taste of pasteurized, filtered grocery store cider and homemade cider is remarkable. With the cider press, we're talking 30 seconds from press to glass.

For the uninitiated (formerly, yours truly), an apple cider press is a machine that essentially grinds up the apples into pulp and then presses the juices out.

In colonial days, it was common for farmers and families to own a barreled cider press (and in those days, the cider was often left to ferment and become an alcoholic "hard" cider). Today, I have a feeling that the old-fashioned cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.

Here’s how the pressing process works:

  • Start with a wheelbarrow of apple drops (fallen apples). Find less-than-perfect apples on the ground at any orchard or old apple farm. (Discard any rotten ones, though.) Blast the apples with a hose to wash them off.
  • First, you feed the apples into the hopper at the top of the press.
  • Next, folks take turns turning the crank to grind the fruit into a pulp.
  • As soon as enough apples are ground up, you turn the pressing plate down on the pulp to free up the juices, which trickle into a container below the press.
  • Finally, just pour the sweet liquid into empty glasses or plastic jugs and drink. (Watch out for any drunken bees who ended up in the jug!)
  • Add some cider donuts, and you're in heaven.

What a fun time! Cider pressing is a great occasion for friends and family to get together on a fall day. The kids—of all ages—had a blast cranking the press.

If you have the inclination, find (or make) a cider press and throw your own Autumn Harvest Party next year!

Anyone else a cider fan? Or, own a cider press? Or, just find this subject interesting? Please post a comment below. 

Catherine, our New Media Editor, joined The Old Farmer's Almanac in 2008. She edits content on both this Web site, Almanac.com, and the companion site to The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids publication, Almanac4kids.com. She also pens the Almanac Companion enewsletters and keeps up with readers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!


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Hi. I have made cider 3 years

By Globo

Hi. I have made cider 3 years now in Calgary. I was wondering if the "mast" as you call can be used for anything else? Like vinegar or jelly?

The mash is used for the

By Catherine Boeckmann

The mash is used for the pigs. I've never known another use for it, but welcome reader comments!

I don't have a question just

By Judie Sickles

I don't have a question just wanted to say that my mom has and we still use my great great grandfathers press. It really is quite awesome I remember my Uncle having it as a child and we used it at his house a lot then my mom got it when he passed away and we used it last year and will be again this year as long as we can all get together. To see something that old in operation today is quite a thrill for the children of today.

Thank you amazing blog, do

By Home Heating

Thank you amazing blog, do you have twitter, facebook or something similar where i can follow your blog

Sandro Heckler

Where does one purchase an

By susanbp

Where does one purchase an apple cider press?

you can purchase all kinds of

By bloomsnbees

you can purchase all kinds of presses and mills @ www.pleasanthillgrain.com

I have been making my cider

By Jeffrey Webb

I have been making my cider for several years now, I go to western Va. and get some apples to supplement ones from my small orchard. It is pressed with an antique press we bought in N.C. Can't be any better that that

Great information.....thanks!

By DSargent

Great information.....thanks! My new home has apple trees and this is one of the things I had planned on doing with the apples!! Now I just need to find a hopper and a press.....

THIS is the only apple cider

By Micheline Saluga

THIS is the only apple cider we drink in our family-nothing pasturized ever tastes close to the original! And you know, you can always freeze apple cider to use at a later date, so that you can have "fresh", apple cider anytime of the year...especially good for Christmas time ; )

Where I live, we all

By Ann Hicks

Where I live, we all anxiously await the opening every autumn of the Lilly Orchard, a "store" on the grounds of the old Eli Lilly apple orchard in Indianapolis (now a private school). They not only sell fresh apple cider, but also apples-on-a-stick and all varieties of apples. Although most of the cider is commercially prepared and pasturized, every weekend they bring out their old cider press for fresh apple cider. I was told that the "fresh" cider last only 5-7 days, whereas pasteurized cider lasts up to three weeks. By the way, does anyone know exactly how apple cider is different than apple juice?

Hi, Ann, "apple juice" is

By Catherine Boeckmann

Hi, Ann, "apple juice" is heavily filtered and thin, often from concentrate, and usually uses sweet but bland apples. Fresh apple cider (vs commercial) is totally unfiltered and unpasteurized; the taste will be sweet but also full-bodied with a more complex flavor. Of course, the best part is that it's fresh!

In my experience, really

By Tj Hooker

In my experience, really fresh apple cider as you describe here is comparable to fresh squeezed orange juice (as opposed to concentrate or even Tropicana). A treat.

What fun! What is the ratio

By stiljanice

What fun! What is the ratio of apples to juice—how many apples to get how much juice??

Hi, Janice, I've had limited

By Catherine Boeckmann

Hi, Janice, I've had limited experience but I'd say approximately 35-40 regular sized apples (1/3 of a bushel) give you a gallon of cider.

yum! what do you do with all

By alexandra.h.winters

yum! what do you do with all that extra pulp?

Our friends gave it to their

By Catherine Boeckmann

Our friends gave it to their 4 pigs; they just started raising pigs, too. Another story!

I've been making cider on a

By MrFlagg

I've been making cider on a farm for years. Our left over pulp becomes chipmunk fodder.


Is a 'juicer machine' the

By Anonymous7115

Is a 'juicer machine' the same as a press? I make apple juice from this machine and it's great!

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