From the MAKE Flickr pool, user JohnnyT writes:
We had a bumper crop of apples this year so I decided to build my own cider press out of lumber we had around the house and 3/4inch threaded rod. I mortised a nut slightly into the board which does the pressing. As you turn the screw the pressing board travels down the shaft. There are some saw kerfs toward the bottom of the press for the juice to flow out. The pine does effect the flavor slightly. It’s not terribly unplesant, my wife didn’t even notice it until I pointed it out. I’m guessing real presses are made of hardwood like Oak or Ash. I’m going to give it another run this weekend and I have been soaking the wood in water. I’m curious if that will help reduce or eliminate the slight flavoring of the wood.
This is a not-so-subtle reminder that it is apple season. I grew up near an orchard and get really homesick at this time of the year!
2 thoughts on “Homemade cider press”
Yes, manufactured presses do use hardwoods, you are on the right path by soaking the parts as an unsoaked press will ‘drink’ your cider. As a cautionary tale from a mild hygiene freak, always be sure to sanitize anything that may come into contact with foodstuffs with a 1:10 bleach to water solution (then rinse) and never use ‘drops’ (which are apples that are from the ground rather than the trees) as deer and other animals are attracted to apples on the ground and can cause contamination with their fecal matter. Another tip for getting quality cider is to buy a yard of uncolored raw muslin and (after it is washed and soaked with drinking water) put it into the mash hopper to act as a ‘mash bag’ that will filter chunks of apple out of your final product. Important to note is the fact that improperly refrigerated cider will ‘turn’ and become alcoholic as all apple skins have a certain degree of naturally occurring yeast on them (not a bad thing, the swamp yankees around here used to let it turn and then make apple jack by letting the alcohol cider partially freeze and reducing the water content by skimming off the ice slurry that forms). Cider can be completely frozen and it’s flavor will keep very well for over a year.
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