Here’s how to make apple cider with a press! It’s a great way to celebrate fall—and that pure, fresh apple cider taste is like nothing you’ve ever tasted from a grocery store. It’s simple and lots of fun!
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, the “old-fashioned” cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.
The difference between the taste of homemade apple cider and that pasteurized, filtered grocery store cider is indescribable. They barely resemble each other. The taste of homemade cider just pops in your mouth—pure, fresh, flavor-packed! Plus, you can use all those less-than-perfect apple drops from the ground, so it’s also a big savings from the price of store cider.
The Apple Press
An apple press makes the whole process fun and simple. The press essentially grinds up the apples into pulp and then presses the juices out. Once you get going, the liquid gold keeps flowing. You go from press to glass in 30 seconds!
There are many kind of presses from a very simple hand press to the traditional cider press with a grinder. You can offen even rent an apple press. Then all you really need are the apples and a few supplies (cutting boards, knives, and empty pitchers). Take turns with the press—and you’re in cider heaven!
How to Press Apple Cider
Start with a wheelbarrow of apple drops (fallen apples). You need a good amount of apples to make cider. Approximately 30 to 40 apples will yield one gallon of cider.
The apples need to be as ripe as possible. It’s fine to use less-than-perfect apples on the ground at any orchard or old apple farm. Discard any rotten ones, though. Spoiled apples cause the juice to ferment too rapidly.
Blast the apples with a hose to wash them off.
Now you need to grind up the apples. Some presses come up a grinder. Feed the apples into the hopper. Turn a cast iron wheel to grind the apples. The wheel is attached to the grinding shaft which quickly and easily chops up the apples.
The apples fall into the tub below. A big press screw is flowered onto a wooden pressing plate.
Turn the pressing plate down on the pulp to free up the apple juices which flow into a container below the press.
Once all the juices are pressed out, empty the leftover pulp into a bin. Then, grind up more apples and press again!
The juice quickly oxidizes into a rich amber color. Some apple “froth” forms on the top which can be skimmed off.
Finally, pour the cider into jugs and drink! Amazing sweet, fresh as a whistle, and crazy delicious! (Watch out for any drunken bees who ended up in the jug!)
* If you are concerned about pasteurization before drinking, just heat the cider to 160-degrees for about 6 to 8 seconds. After pasteurization, cider can be frozen for longer storage.
Add some cider donuts, and you’re in heaven.
Cider pressing is a great occasion for friends and family to get together on a fall day. The kids—of all ages—will have 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? Have any questions or comments? Just post below.