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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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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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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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The Weston wine press is a great value for the quality of material and construction of the press. Weston makes a ratchet style press, so there is no cross arm to support the screw, rather the screw is anchored at the base of the press through the middle of the press where the fruit tub is placed. This is a great press for grapes and other soft fruits, but I don’t think it’s best suited if you are making cider with apples. It can be difficult to line the tub with a mesh bag, although you could use cheesecloth. But for grapes, the Weston wine press is great as the grapes don’t have as much pulp and excess materials to be filtered out when pressed. You can easily find the Weston Grape press for under $300 as well, which makes it affordable.

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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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The Weston Wine Press is perfect for the family looking to make homemade wines or grape juice. The Weston Wine Press is a ratchet type press. To work the Press you load your grapes into the press, preferably with a nylon or cheesecloth filtering bag, and then place the wood blocks on top of the grapes. You then begin the ratchet down the wood blocks putting pressure on the grapes. The grape juice will begin to flow out of the bottom of the fruit press when enough pressure is applied. The Weston Fruit Press is a great addition to any home and  can be enjoyed by the entire family.

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Now that you have successfully pressed the apple pomace through your fruit press and gathered the resulting juice, you are ready to enjoy your homemade apple cider. As mentioned in a previous post, you may want to run the juice through an additional filter, or you can leave it as it comes hot off the press. Without the additional filter you will probably have small pieces of pulp from the apples. Remember your fresh apple cider will  turn brown soon after contact with the air due to all of these small pieces of apple.

You should collect the juice from your cider press in a container that will be easy to transfer to smaller storing containers if you plan on freezing or giving away some of your special recipe. If you have a bucket that fits beneath your press, you can buy buckets with spigots, which make the transfer to smaller containers very easy. If not, you will probably need to invest in a filter (even and oil filter will work) to make the transfer. Unless you are planning to drink the cider in the very near future, you should always use plastic containers for longer term storage and freezing, and be sure to allow some “breathing” in the top of the container when freezing. If you are making a hard cider, you are getting to the good part. More to come on that in a later post.

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Once the apples are crushing into pumace they are ready to be pressed. Depending on what type of apple cider press you have will determine the ease of transitioning the pumace into the tubs for pressing. Some single tub presses, such as the Jaffrey 8400, havea grinder attachment that allows you to grind the apples directly into the tube, while all double tub presses, such as a Correll Press, allow you to grind the fruit into one tub while pressing in the second tub. Either way you will want to line the tub with a nylon cider press bag. The bag will act as a filter as you press the juice out of the fruit. Without the bag you will more than likely find stems, seed chunks and a great deal of pulp  in your apple cider. Once you have the pumace, or ground apples, into the lined tub it is time to press. Fold the nylon bag over so you seal off the top and then place the tub under your pressing block. You are now ready to begin pressing. Make sure you have a clean bucket or tub to collect the juice when pressing. It will depend on how high your press sits off the ground when figuring out the right collection method. You may want to consider a second filtration after the cider is pressed. You can use cheese cloth or a fine square of wire in conjunction with a funnel to do so.

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Step 2 – Crushing the Apples into Pumace

Once you have selected the apples and combination of your choice, it is time to grind the apples into a pumace  before pressing. This will create a mushy and very thick apple sauce type substance, and is a critical step to not only maximize the juice you will get when pressed, but will also prolong the life of your equipment. If you already own an apple cider press, you should have (or have the option) of an attached grinder. Certain presses, such as Correll Apple Presses have automatic grinders, while the more traditional cider presses have manual cranks or flywheels used to crush the apples. Jaffrey Manufacturing has a fruit grinder that can be purchased individually as well as the Weston Apple Grinder. If you don’t have a grinder with your apple or wine press, you can always use a kitchen blender, but it will take a lot longer to get the amount of pumace necessary for juicing. Once you have your pumace prepared it is now time to start pressing the fruit.

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