Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cider Pressing Matter

Over the last year I have plotted and schemed trying to justify buying a cider press. I found someone locally that makes and sells them but the prices are high: around 300 dollars if I remember correctly. Shopping craigslist and the local classifieds brought up a handful of fully functional antique presses for around 500 to 1000 dollars. Clearly I had to do something else.

So two days ago Willow took all the kids except Rylan to some kind of gathering and I decided to build something.

After scowering the web I found many people using scissor car jacks and 4 or 8 ton hydraulic jacks. Luckily I bought a 4 ton hydraulic jack at Harbor Freight a few weeks before.

The plan, as it sits, is to gather apples either from our back yard of to buy bushels of seconds from a local orchard and use those. They will be cored and pulverized into an applesauce like product, placed into a nylon mesh bag and pressed using the jack and some bucket sized plywood circles.

I had planned on sanding and varnishing everything with food grade wood varnish but then my laziness took over and I made a snap decision not to do it. Instead I plan on placing food grade plastic on everything that the apples/cider will touch. this way I can simply add plastic when the press is in use then throw it away when we are done.

I checked out apples today and they are about two weeks from ripe so I went and bought some drops from a local place. Three bushels got me almost three gallons of cider, even though my process was very inneffecient. It tastes great and the kids liked it. I contacted a local guy about making me a proper basket for the press, I need to cut a few more pressing disks and I need to find some material that will let me create the cheeses and have them stay where I want them.

If you research the term " pulpmaster" you will find a delightful product sold in the UK, I couldn't find it here in the states) that works to chop apples in a way that might work better than my blender idea. I bought a few things at the hardware store today and will be making one for myself over the next few days.
Our grapes are almost ripe as well, and hopefully this press can do double duty as a grape press. Two years ago we picked 120 pounds of grapes but being novices we picked them too early and got slightly tart grapes. This year I am going to wait until the birds start eating them and then pick them, as I was instructed to do by many an internet sage.

The video I made of the press seems to be to large to load, even after letting the page sit unattended overnight. So I will post it to youtube and set it up here in the future.

In the video above I stated I used three bushels of apples, looking at what a bushel is I realized what I bought were half bushels.

No comments:

Post a Comment