25 Oct Pressing Apples with a Rack and Cloth Press
After building this apple press in my last video, Steve shows me how to actually use it. We pressed 6 bushels of apples for a 18 gallon yield.
The Prep Work
We are going to be making a 1:1:1 blend of Cortland, Keepsake, and crab apples. We started with 2 bushels of each. While the apples were still in their bushels, we used a hose to clean them. This cleans up any dirt or small debris.
Next is the longest step: sorting the apples. We manually went through each bushel and culled out any bad apples. Some apples had only partial issues that could be cut away. The apples that make it though this process don’t have to be pretty or appetizing. We’re primarily looking for any rotten sections. bruising isn’t an issue. Foreign objects such as leaves, sticks, and grass can also be removed at this point.
Next is grinding. This turns the apples into a pulp and makes extracting the juice easier and faster. We fed the apples through an electric grinder that made very quick work of this step. Manual grinders are also available.
Now let’s collect some juice! The tray is place onto the platform and a rack is placed into the tray so juice can escape from the bottom layer. To make the first layer, the form is set onto the rack and a cloth is draped over it.
The apple pulp is then scooped into the form and adjusted until it is uniform in thickness and covers the entire form.
The cloth is then folded over and the form removed. Another rack is placed on top of the clothed apple pulp and the form with another cloth is placed into position. This layer is filled with apple pulp and the process continues until the press is full.
The press is designed to handle 6 layers which worked out to be around 4 bushels.
A top plate and press block can but placed on top of the stack and a bottle jack can be put on top .
As the jack is gradually extended, juice flows out of the layers. The cloth acts like a filter, letting juice flow out while containing the pulp. A collection container is placed under the spout. The juice really flows so keep an eye on the container. It would be really easy to over fill it.
When the pressing is complete (There will be very little juice flowing out of the layers), everything can be disassembled and the remaining dry pulp can be discarded. The deer and squirrels had an apple feast in my backyard.