Cider Pressing

Dave was excited to start pressing apple cider at our new farm this year.  We wanted to walk you all through what it takes to make apple cider (which by the way should always be 100% smooshed apple)

 

The first step of the process is that Dave dumps the apples into this elevator which transports the apples into the cider room and to their final destiny.

 

The elevator dumps the apples into the bin of this menacing looking machine.  Its job is to simply chop the apples finely so that they can be easily pressed into cider.

This is what the apples look like after a trip through the grinder.

And now…behold…the Squeezebox SX200.

She’s a beauty, is she not?  So, this is how the cidermaking happens…  Dave has a foot pedal that engages the pump on the tank that holds the chopped apple.  He fills each bag with the apple, being careful to fill each bag equally so as not to put strain on the machine.

As the apple fills the bags, the cider is already starting to drip out of the bags.  The pan of the cidermaking machine is covered with a cheesecloth to keep any errant chunks of apple out.

Now, this is the beauty of this machine.  You notice that Dave filled the right side of the Squeezebox.  The left side was compressed.  Dave pushes a button and the right side starts to squeeze while the left side, which Dave had filled earlier with the chopped apple, begins to expand.

And now, the exciting part.  All Dave has to to is push yet another button and the whole left side starts to lift.

 

And…wham!  Apple pulp emptied!

This is all that remains of the apple.  You can see little bits of apple skin, but it really doesn’t taste good at all.  All of the apply goodness has been extracted.

And that is how our cider is made.  After the cider is squeezed, it is run through a silver box that treats our cider with a UV light.   The cider temperature is only raised by a few degrees, so the cider still tastes fresh and cool, but is void of any bacteria which keeps the FDA and our customers happy.

The cider then runs into a big plastic holding tank when then gets bottled into containers.  I don’t have a picture of this since I took pictures at the beginning of the day and bottling happens at the end.

For Dave, this is the perfect cidermaking operation for him.  The only problem is it takes a long time to set up and a long time to clean up.  The quick part is actually making the cider.

If you have any questions about the cider or the cidermaking process or would like to see more detailed pictures, just let me know.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andi on November 3, 2012 at 7:57 am

    That’s fascinating! I always wanted to see how that crazy looking machine works!

    Reply

  2. How long does it take to set up and clean a press like that?

    Reply

    • Dave says that it takes 2 hours to set up, 4 hours to press the cider and bottle, and 2 hours to clean up. On the day previous to cider-making, we prepare the apples by washing them and cutting out spots.

      Reply

      • Very cool, Sounds like a lot of work! How many gallons do you get in 4 hours?

      • This week is the week before Thanksgiving so I made about 240. Normally I make between 150 and 180 gallons. The press is designed to do 250 gallons an hour. That would require more than 1 person though.
        Before this season my brother and I worked together. We used a smaller press that was less efficent, but with 2 people it worked ok. Since we seperated and live on differant farms I thought I needed to get a more efficent system to get the job done in one day. I accomplished that goal, but considering the cost of the equipment, it would be more economical to hire someone and use cheaper equipment. So why did I go with the bigger eqipment? That gets to the root of who we are as farmers. We plan ahead. Hopefully someday my children will be involved and we will use the press to its full capacity. Thanks for your interest!

  3. Posted by Mike Mills on October 2, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Dave can you tell me where you got the bags from to squeeze the apples?

    Reply

    • I use a goodnature press and only there bags will work in it. it is a great design and don’t want to use anyone elses. however depending on what press you have i would recommend “day equipment.” They have whatever you need.

      Reply

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