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Fresh Apple Cider- No Press Needed

glass of apple cider fresh apple cider (photo by jhy)
You will need:
food grinder or processor
cheesecloth or jelly bag
large bowl, pans, etc
jar or jug for storage

You can easily make small batches of fresh apple cider with no expensive press, and no special equipment.

We aren't big cider drinkers, but I do like a glass or two in the fall, and I hate paying grocery store prices when we have lots of scabby, less-than-perfect apples in the aged orchard we own. But, I thought you had to have a press to make cider, and those cost hundreds of dollars. Was I ever wrong!

This is exceptionally easy, and for families that aren't trying to produce a 55-gallon drum full of cider, it's not even very time consuming.

grinding apples to make cider grinding apples to make cider (photo by jhy)
Use the grinder or processor to make a mash of the apples. The great thing about cider is that you can use bruised apples, drops, damaged or insect bitten apples. Don't peel or remove the stems or anything. I did cut them into quarters just to make it easier to get them started in my Universal grinder. I used the smallest cutting wheel that is not the nut butter wheel.

There is no reason you need to measure anything at all for this process, but I did, just to get an idea of how much cider I was getting in relation to the ground up apples. From a quart of ground apples I got 2 cups of cider. This would vary a lot depending on the juiciness of the fruits, but at least it's a ball park figure.

squeezing apple cider in a jelly bag squeeze the cider through a jelly bag (photo by jhy)
Take a pile of the ground apples and stuff it into a jelly bag or wrap in several layers of cheescloth. Do this over a large bowl, because the juice will begin to flow immediately. With clean hands squeeze the bag until you can't get any more juice out of the apple mash.

Dump the now-dry apple leavings into the compost.

strain the apple cider strain the apple cider (photo by jhy)
Because my jelly bag has some holes, I took a couple of extra seconds to run the fresh cider through a sieve, just to strain out any lumps that might have escaped while I was squeezing.

Put the cider in a clean jar or jug and store in the refrigerator. This won't keep as well as the pasteurized cider they sell at the store, so be sure to either freeze or use it soon.

I wish I had known this 30 years ago because this is a great project to do with kids, especially with a hand food grinder. I would recommend doing it outside with young helpers, though, because it was pretty messy, even with just me doing it. I would certainly have done this with my Cub Scout den. In an hour, working alone, I made more than 2 quarts of cider. A group of kids grinding and squeezing could get completely sticky and satisfied at a job that would produce food they could consume right away and even take some home.

I'm pretty sure this discovery is going to make my top 10 list of new finds for 2011!


betchai said...

hmmmm, wish i can have a drink of your apple cider.

Ann said...

wow, that's it? I thought there was more to it. I was looking at the price of cider in the stores and it's really high this year. I like a little of it now and then but I'm not willing to pay that much.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Ann- That's it! I think the people with presses want to keep it a mystery so that we don't know we could make some ourselves.

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