Have you ever wanted to make fresh pressed cider from in season apples picked straight from the tree? Me too! After a couple of years of putting it off, we finally bought our first fruit crusher and cider press and we couldn’t be happier with it. Here is a review of the equipment.
Apple Cider vs Apple Juice
Apple cider is just unfiltered, usually unpasteurized, fresh apple juice.
To make juice, you press the apples and then filter the liquid. You could use a juicer, or a fruit crusher and cider press. Juice is filtered cider.
The pasteurization is what large companies turn to when they need their products to be shelf stable and last a long time. There are also laws in place requiring pasteurization for certain foods to be legally sold.
Pasteurization kills off most bacteria in the cider and keeps it from fermenting or molding. Pasteurization is the process of heating a food to a certain temperature and maintain that temperature for a set amount of time.
Apple juice is filtered and pasteurized. Some cider is also pasteurized, but left unfiltered. Usually, when someone says apple cider they mean unfiltered and unpasteurized juice from apples.
To make apple cider you use a cider press. This works by applying pressure to crushed fruit and the juices pour out of a spout that you can collect in a bucket.
What is a fruit crusher?
To use the cider press efficiently, it’s best to have a fruit crusher. The fruit crusher works to quickly crush the apples or other fruit, allowing the cider press to do its job efficiently. You could smash the fruit up another way, but it would be messy and a lot of work. The crusher and cider press make a great team.
What equipment do you need to make apple cider?
Here’s what we went with after much deliberation.
We bought this 3.2 Gallon Fruit and Wine Press from Amazon.
Along with that, we bought this Fruit and Apple Crusher from Amazon as well.
How do you make apple cider at home?
- pick apples
- wash apples
- cut apples in quarters
- crush apples using a fruit crusher
- put mesh bag into press
- fill press with crushed apples
- press apples using cider press
- collect cider in a bucket
- use cider to drink, to make spiced hot cider, hard cider or apple cider vinegar
How does fresh pressed apple cider taste?
This was hands down the best fruit juice I had ever had. It’s like none other. I’ve even bought the fancy local unfiltered apple cider in the store and it was nothing compared to this fresh pressed apple cider.
I think a big part of the wonderful taste difference is that this fresh stuff has never been heated. Nearly anything you can buy in the store has been pasteurized (heated) and I think that makes a big difference on flavor.
Do you really need a fruit crusher if you’re using a cider press?
Short answer, no… but. You definitely don’t need a fruit crusher, but It really made things quick and easy. The apples do need to be crushed before putting them into a the press and the fruit crusher was the easiest way to do that.
If you really don’t want to buy it you could totally just pulse them in the food processor, chop them very small or even smash them with a mallet. There are a lot of ways to get the job done. Some would be messier than others, and some would take longer than others. I am super glad we got the fruit crusher.
Is using a fruit crusher and cider press messy?
I totally thought it was going to be. So much so that we set up all our equipment outside the first time we used it. I was surprised at how little splashing there was with the pressed cider. I was also surprised that the fruit crusher didn’t fling many bits of apple around. Just enough to keep the chickens interested.
Keep in mind that hornets, wasps, bees, houseflies and fruit flies will all love your outdoor juicing adventure too. I had a hornet go up my paint leg and sting me in the thigh. I totally pulled my pants down in front of a few friends to get the hornet out of there. Luckily there was some plantain leaf near by and we made a quick spit poultice and kept on working.
The second time we pressed cider we set everything up in the kitchen except the crusher. We crushed in our drive way and did everything else inside. It was nice to use the normal kitchen counter to chop the apples, and the press worked well with out a problem.
Is a fruit crusher and cider press hard to clean?
I thought it was going to be a lot of effort to clean the fruit crusher and cider press but it was not. My husband just took everything outside and hosed it off really well. Even the mesh bag we cleaned with the hose. The mesh bag for the press could also be thrown in the laundry for a thorough wash. We made sure everything was really dry before putting it away.
Is a fruit crusher and cider press hard to assemble?
The fruit crusher was pretty quick to assemble and only had a few parts to attach together with clear instructions.
The cider press took longer to assemble because you have to screw together each individual piece of wood to the metal bands. It was easy, but took some time. Super thankful my husband handled that part because he has way more patience than me.
Watch this video to see us using this fruit crusher and cider press
I am really glad that we bought the fruit crusher and cider press, I only wish we bought it sooner. This is our 5th apple season here at our homestead. We could have gotten so much use out of these items and could be saving money making all our own apple cider vinegar.
There are so many uses for the apples that grow all around us here in Northwest Washington. If you don’t have your own apple tree, you’ll see many trees in neighbors yards that go unused. So much wasted fruit! Knock on some doors and ask, you might find yourself with a lot of free apples and some new friends.
One of my favorite special uses for our apples is this Fermented Applesauce that I make as often as I’m able. I also love making canned apple pie filling, apple butter, canned applesauce and apple scrap vinegar with the leftovers. This fruit crusher and cider press is a great addition to the tools we can utilize to make good use of the abundance of apples with have in the late summer and in to the fall.