Unfiltered fresh apple juice is known as cider. It is a wonderful fall beverage and can also be used to make alcoholic drinks or jellies. It requires a lot of force to press ground apples to get the juice. If large quantities of apples need squeezing, it is best to use an apple, or cider, press. Commercial fruit presses can be cost-prohibitive, but it is possible and fairly elementary to make your own press out of some common items and hardware.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 6 pieces 2x4 inch hardwood, 24 inches long
- 2 large hardwood cutting boards
- 4 carriage bolts
- 16 wood screws
- Screw driver
- Metal tray slightly larger than the cutting boards
- Tin snips
- Bottle jack
- Cheesecloth bag
Lay four of the 2x4 pieces of hardwood in a square on a table or workbench standing them on the narrow sides. Bolt them at the corners with carriage bolts in this position. The structure must be as strong as possible because it will have to withstand pressure from a bottle jack.
Stand the square of wood on one side with the widest part of the 2x4 in contact with the workbench. Place the other two 2x4s on either side of the square that is on the table and line the ends up evenly.
Center a hardwood cutting board over the middle 2x4 that is part of the square frame. Adjust the loose 2x4s so that they support the outer edges of the cutting board. Screw the cutting board to the 2x4s, driving two screws near each end of the 2x4s.
Notch a corner of a metal tray with tin snips down to the tray’s bottom and position it on the cutting board on the frame. Position the notch so that, when apple juice runs out, it will be convenient for the bucket to be positioned under the notch to catch the juice. Screw the metal tray to the cutting board near the four corners.
Place the press on a sturdy table and use it by placing the cheesecloth bag filled with ground apples on the metal tray. Place the other cutting board on top of the apples, and place the bottle jack in the middle of this cutting board. Make sure the bucket is below the notch in the metal tray and crank the jack so that it presses against the top of the frame, pressing out the apple juice.
Tips and warnings
- Use hard wood because soft wood will not stand up to the pressure of the jack.
- Ask local orchards and farmers for bruised apples from which to make your cider. These usually cost less or nothing at all.
- Use this press for squeezing juice from other types of fruit as well. Juice can be consumed fresh, or it can be used to make jellies, wine or other products.
- Use only food-grade wood and other components, making sure they are clean and sterilised before using the apple press.
- Exercise extreme caution when using the press. Do not let children play with the press.
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