So I have 500lbs of apple.....

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varano14

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So yah this weekend a friend offered me as many apples as I wanted. 10 crates fit into my jeep so that's what I ended up with. This came after they heard about and tasted some of my wine. They were all excited for me to make a hard cider/ apple wine. At the time I figured I could figure something out. Well now I am sorta concerned after everything I read only was that you basically need a press to get the juice out. I do not have a press, I was planning on looking into it for next year but then this fell in my lap.

I have an idea to "crush" them by hand using a garden tamper and a large brute trashcan. But I am stumped on how to press them. Tried the local home brew store and they do not have a press to rent or any one hand to even sell me. I have one possible lead on a used on semi local but my concern is if that falls through I am ganna be stuck. How long will they keep, ordering a relatively cheap china made on off of amazon can get me something in about a week. (I am aware of the quality issues here).

They are currently sitting on my back porch today its pretty warm here in central pa, mid 70's, the next like 5 days it looks like highs of about 60 lows 45. The other option would be my basement which stays a pretty constant 65.

Help
 

VinesnBines

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Ideally you need this: The American Harvester. I have pieces of two old cider mills that I would love to get back together.

The apples go in the hopper and are ground/crushed between two iron wheels and fall in the basket at the back. Once full, that basket slides to the front under the press and the juice is pressed out of the apples. You can have at 2 people or more working the mill and press. Making cider is a great friend and family activity.

You might get by by finding a grinding method but you need a press. I don't think you will be able to crush well enough with a garden tamper and a press is a necessity. Uncooked apples are too hard to squeeze without a press.

Your other option is to cook up the apples and make apple butter. You need a huge copper pot, a stirring paddle, all day fire and a bunch of people.

Good luck. Hope you figure out something.
 

varano14

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Ideally you need this: The American Harvester. I have pieces of two old cider mills that I would love to get back together.

The apples go in the hopper and are ground/crushed between two iron wheels and fall in the basket at the back. Once full, that basket slides to the front under the press and the juice is pressed out of the apples. You can have at 2 people or more working the mill and press. Making cider is a great friend and family activity.

You might get by by finding a grinding method but you need a press. I don't think you will be able to crush well enough with a garden tamper and a press is a necessity. Uncooked apples are too hard to squeeze without a press.

Your other option is to cook up the apples and make apple butter. You need a huge copper pot, a stirring paddle, all day fire and a bunch of people.

Good luck. Hope you figure out something.
Yes a full mill like you listed would be idea, unfortunately there are no second hand ones available even remotely locally and a new one is a bit out of the budget.

My idea was to smash the heck out of them with the tamper after halving or quartering them and then press the smashed fruit. I figured on smashing smaller quantities at a time to make it easier. Not speedy but I am hoping it'll be better then trying to press whole fruit.

The issue has been locating a press on short notice. The old interwebs seems to say the apples should be okay for atleast a week or so but that still isn't all that long.
 

varano14

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Core the apples and process in a food processor. This is going to be serious effort, but you'll get more juice.
I don't currently have a food processor, just ordered a china special press. For the 170 shipped price if it gets me through this I will be happy.
 

Arne

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I have never tried this with apples but you could freeze them and it would make the juice easier to extract from them by hand. Careful if you try cooking them, it will most likely set the pectin and you will not get your wine to clear. Arne.
 

mikewatkins727

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I have never tried this with apples but you could freeze them and it would make the juice easier to extract from them by hand. Careful if you try cooking them, it will most likely set the pectin and you will not get your wine to clear. Arne.
@Arne that's 500 pounds of apples, where is he going to put them for freezing?
 

VinesnBines

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I thought of freezing too but is is 500 lbs. I had a thought that is a little wild; get two clean tarps, cut up the apples, lay them out on one tarp, cover with the other and driver over with a riding lawn mower. Using the weight of the mower you will crush the apples making them ready for the press. You could do the same with a lawn roller if you have one. Similar to the garden tamper but much more weigh and will be faster.

This is a completely sober idea. Not sure how big a mess it would make but I was thinking of how we get the hulls off black walnuts.
 

varano14

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This is a completely sober idea.
Any idea with this disclaimer is always a winner in my book:)

This is the reason I love the internet, a totally insane off the wall idea that probably would work. Its funny I was actually considering trying to use the weigh of my jeep but couldn't figure out a way to not have the apples everywhere. I think the problem is with the tarps you would have most of the apple squirting out the sides. If you folded the tarps over that would contain them but I am not sure if the tarps would just bust.

In good news the local press deal is working out, looks to be a ratcheting style and superior to the china special I have on order. The cheapo is either getting cancelled or returned.

As far as freezing them goes my research indicates that is likely the way to get the most juice out of them but alas I have no where near the freezer space to do it. If I had an large and completely empty chest freezer I could probably do them all in one batch but I do not.

I think I will do an initial press run with the tamper method and see; a) how long it takes and b) what kind of extraction I get.
 

VinesnBines

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Is the press ratchet/crank or water/hydraulic? The press is essential. You can crush the apples some way. I thought of heavy bags to use to crush under the jeep but that would be expensive. Cut the pieces small and they will be easier to crush.
 

varano14

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Is the press ratchet/crank or water/hydraulic? The press is essential. You can crush the apples some way. I thought of heavy bags to use to crush under the jeep but that would be expensive. Cut the pieces small and they will be easier to crush.
From the pictures ratchet and crank which I think should be a step up from the one I had ordered which was just a direct screw.

I was intenting to half or quarter the apples before smashing with the stamper. I'm thinking a few good stomps should get it to near mush form. The key will be only smashing smaller amounts at once I think which is what is going to slow me down.
 

franc1969

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@varano14 Get a cheap sink (cleanable stainless steel, does not have to be new) and disposal (new and clean!) There are YouTube videos, blog posts, etc about using them. Homebrewtalk.com has posts, haven't searched Winemakingtalk, or here - Whizbang Cider.net He advocates building a tray, most places say buying a sink is easier and faster. Otherwise, same setup, grinds fast. If you have a decent press on order, you should be fine. As I said in some other thread- some people ferment with fruit, it is probably too much mess to press after ferment though. Fruit should be fine a few days - some apples or pears hold much longer, some apples or pears don't. Whenever it is sweated ripe and ready.
 

mainshipfred

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@varano14 Get a cheap sink (cleanable stainless steel, does not have to be new) and disposal (new and clean!) There are YouTube videos, blog posts, etc about using them. Homebrewtalk.com has posts, haven't searched Winemakingtalk, or here - Whizbang Cider.net He advocates building a tray, most places say buying a sink is easier and faster. Otherwise, same setup, grinds fast. If you have a decent press on order, you should be fine. As I said in some other thread- some people ferment with fruit, it is probably too much mess to press after ferment though. Fruit should be fine a few days - some apples or pears hold much longer, some apples or pears don't. Whenever it is sweated ripe and ready.
That is a really neat idea
 

varano14

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@varano14 Get a cheap sink (cleanable stainless steel, does not have to be new) and disposal (new and clean!) There are YouTube videos, blog posts, etc about using them. Homebrewtalk.com has posts, haven't searched Winemakingtalk, or here - Whizbang Cider.net He advocates building a tray, most places say buying a sink is easier and faster. Otherwise, same setup, grinds fast. If you have a decent press on order, you should be fine. As I said in some other thread- some people ferment with fruit, it is probably too much mess to press after ferment though. Fruit should be fine a few days - some apples or pears hold much longer, some apples or pears don't. Whenever it is sweated ripe and ready.
Yes I have read in multiple places about that idea and have come the conclusion that short of an actual grinder it is the best way to go. So places make it seem like it may even be better then an actual grinder. My apple source indicated they would like to make a bunch of cider/wine with the apples next year if this goes well as the person who used to make cider with them moved and the apples have just been dropping, unused. I realize 500lbs isn't the smallest test run but they probably had 10 times that still hanging on the trees.

I think if this goes well and we decide to scale up or production I will have at least a year to get squared away for next year. I usually take much more time to plan and gather supplies but this sorta dropped in my lap and the last minute.
 

varano14

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Press is home, it's a #35, there is a tag on it that says mearelli so I am assuming that is the brand. It is missing the handle which should be easy enough to replace and one of the metal tabs that allow it to ratchet (pawl I believe). Seems to function with just one but I will try and replace it. Picked it up along with 2 six gallon, 1 five and 1 three carboys for $375. Not a complete steal but I think I did okay.

All in all a huge upgrade over the one I had ordered.
 
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