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Posts Tagged ‘grinder’

If you have already purchased, or are thinking about purchasing a Weston Wine Press, then the Weston Fruit Grinder may be a nice addition to your pressing activities. When pressing grapes to make fresh grape juice or home made wine you aren’t initially required to crush or grind the grapes, although most do. Grapes are a soft fruit and a typical press can easily crush the grapes without any prep work. However, if you plan on making apple cider with your press you must first crush the apples with a fruit grinder. Apples are a hard fruit and simply will not crush with only the force of a typical fruit press. Weston offers a fruit grinder that will attach to a variety of surfaces. This will allow you to crush the apples directly into your pressing tub prior to pressing.

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If you’ve ever wanted to build your own cider press, but don’t know where to start, Jaffrey has the answer for you. The Jaffrey Cider Press Kit includes all the hardware necessary to build your homemade cider press. The kit includes instructions for the wood as well, so you can purchase the wood yourself and follow the instructions to complete the press. It is a great middle ground between building your own cider press from scratch and buying a cider press that is already assembled. Plus it is a little more economical since the wood doesn’t have to be shipped, you’ll save on those costs as well. The kit includes all the hardware necessary, including the apple grinder.

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When pressing apples for cider it is imperative to crush the apples with an apple grinder prior to pressing. This is something that is often overlooked when purchasing a press without a built in grinder. If you are pressing grapes, then no problem, the press can handle crushing the grapes into a fine pomace. But when making homemade apple cider, you must crush the apples into a mushy consistency. The finer the pomace or mash, the more juice you will yield when pressing. If you already have a cider or wine press, you can purchase an accessory grinder, such as the Weston Apple Grinder or the Jaffrey Apple Grinder. Both can be mounted vertically and then used with your pressing tub below the grinder to catch the pomace.

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The Weston Grape Press is a great press for making home made grape juice and wines. There is an adaptable Weston Fruit Grinder as well, if you are interested in pressing  apples. The Weston Wine Press will not crush and press whole apples, a grinder is needed if that is your intention. There are many varieties of grapes you can press depending on what you are trying to accomplish. For fresh grape juice you may want to cook the grapes before pressing. If you are making your own home made wine, then you can press the fresh grapes straight from the vine.

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Jaffrey Manufacturing and Leslie Wood Products have been building apple cider presses since 1983. They are based in the state of Kansas and have both an apple press and a wine press. The Jaffrey Cider Press includes a grinder for crushing the fruit prior to pressing. The Wine press they manufacture, known as the Yakima, is a table model and is much smaller in size. With the Grape or Wine Press there isn’t a need to crush the grapes  like you need to with apples, so it is in effect only a press. Jaffrey also offers accessories for your cider press, such as nylon replacement bags, wheels and other products.

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I’ve posted before about a friend that builds homemade cider presses for around $700 a piece. They are built very well and have automated grinders, so there is no flywheel or crank to crush that apples or fruit manually. The most impressive piece of the cider press to me was his fruit grinder. Unlike the Jaffrey Apple Grinder or WestonFruit Grinder, his fruit grinder is made completely of metal. It just looks like it’s going to devour apples and other hard fruits. And it does. Below is a great picture of his homemade apple grinder for everyone else out there looking to make an apple grinder themselves.

Homemade Apple Grinders

Homemade Apple Grinders

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I am in the process of trying to rebuild the old apple grinder I am currently using. I have an antique press and the grinder is probably the most worn down piece of the entire cider press. I have to run the apples through a couple of times to get the pumace consistency I am looking to press. There is some good information online about how to rebuild a cider press, here is one of the best websites I know of:

http://www.sentex.net/~mwandel/press/apple_grinder.html

If you are not into woodworking, or don’t feel you have the skills or tools to build one yourself, there are a number of manufacturers of new apple grinders. The, most popular are the Weston Fruit Grinder ,Happy Valley Ranch’s “Apple Eater”, and the Jaffrey Fruit Grinder.

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Over the past weekend I purchased an old cider press from a lady in the Yakima Valley. It is a bit smaller than most of the antique presses I have seen, but that is OK as they all seem to weigh a thousand pounds. It had been in her family for 60 or so years, but I believe the press is older than that. The wood has been dried out and is somewhat brittle so I’m not sure if I can use a lot of the wood going forward or not. Probably not. One thing I wish was included with the cider press was the old cider hoppers that mount on top of the grinder. It must have been lost along the way, or broken. As I restore this press I was hoping to find others who have restored old cider presses, or grape presses, to get some good input. This is my first restoration project, and I’m not what you might call a professional woodworker. But it’s something that I enjoy, so it’s worth it. I hope to have this at least in working order for the 2009 Apple harvest. Here are some pictures of my new project.

Antique Cider Press

Antique Cider Press

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If you’ve ever visited a cider mill or fruit stand, chances are you have seen an antique apple cider press. Most of the old cider presses built in the early 1900’s or earlier were double tub or twin tub cider mills. This is a do it all cider press, but due to size and weight I think they have lost favor among casual cider makers. Most of the hardware used to make the old presses are cast iron, which is a long lasting material, but is also very heavy. Nowadays most of the cider presses that are manufactured are only single tub presses. Although these presses are a lot lighter and cheaper to manufacture, it can be more time consuming pressing your apples as you can only do one function at a time, either grinding your apples into a pumace (if an apple grinder is included) or pressing your fruit to extract the juices. If you’ve got to have it all, I would suggest trying to find an antique press that has the double tubs. The picture below is a great example of a double tub antique cider press.

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Here is a step by step guide for making homemade apple cider using a fruit press.

 

Step 1 – Apple Selection & Preparation

This is a critical step as this will determine the quality and flavor of your cider. Make sure you are not using apples that are tree fallen as they will most certainly contain pests, which will not only hurt your cider, they may have contaminated the apples. Quality fruit will produce quality cider, just like anything else. You will also want to select a couple different varieties of apples. Using two or three different varieties will give your cider a unique taste. Each time your press apples you can experiment with different varieties of apples to find the perfect ratio of sweetness and tart. An example of a blend may be Red Delicious apples coupled with Granny Smiths. As I am from the Yakima Valley I always use apples grown in Washington State, I have yet to find better apples than the apples grown in Central Washington. Even with this simple mix you can adjust the ratio of reds to granny’s to refine your blend. Other blends may apple varieties such as: Jonagold, Pink Lady, Golden, Gala, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, or Rome.

Once you have your fruit selected you will want to make sure you wash them throroughly to remove all pesticides. When pressing apples your press should have a grinder to crush the apples into small pieces. However, I suggest at least quartering the apples before putting them through your grinder unless you have a quality grinder that can handle whole apples. Some cider presses  have automatic grinders while others have a manual crank.

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