The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to Make Apple Cider in a Juicer

Apple ciderAfter giving away, saucing, and drying two thirds of our traded apples, I've been pondering making cider out of the rest.  Mark suggested seeing what the juicer would do with them, but I creased my brow and denied its utility for all I was worth.  "We'll have to cut them up and it'll take hours!" I moaned, thinking of the cider press a friend has offered to lend us.

But, in the end, Mark's reasoning prevailed.  He reminded me that another friend had tried out a similar press recently and found it to be more trouble than it was worth.  Add to that the fact that the presses weigh a ton (not quite literally), and it suddenly looked more interesting to try home juicing.

Despite what other folks will tell you, there's no need to cut out bad spots, cores, or stems before making cider.  Just cut your apples up enough that they'll fit in the juicer (quarters in our case), mash them in, and cider will come pouring out the other end.  Wait a little bit and skim off the foam and your cider is ready to drink.  (Don't fall for the government's line that you risk dying a horrible death if you drink unpasteurized cider --- cooking the cider makes it taste like apple juice and my stomach at least can handle a few germs in the pursuit of good flavor.) 

The end result --- both of us were right.  It took me about 45 minutes to turn a fourth of a bushel of apples into a little less than half a gallon of juice, but that's probably about the same amount of time (or less) than it would have taken to use the press.  I still had time to crack out a bunch of raw Chinese chestnuts to make pesto for supper (a pesto that Mark and I agreed tasted much better than pesto made with walnuts!)  Even though the garden has slowed down, it looks like we'll be busy squirreling away apples and chestnuts from friends for another few weeks yet.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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How is this cider? You would have to leave it to ferment for at least a week to achieve any alcohol content, and with the yeast in the skins you'd get 2-3% maximum. It's more like apple juice.

Comment by Rory Holland Thu Apr 21 05:15:11 2011
I suspect you might be British? Around here, we call raw, unfermented apple juice without all of the gunk strained out of it cider. Apple juice is clear and, generally, cooked. The fermented version (that I know is just called "cider" elsewhere) is usually called "hard cider" here to distinguish the two.
Comment by anna Thu Apr 21 07:44:51 2011

I have juiced the small tart apples I pick in Northern Ontario and will freeze for the first time. Do you freeze or can the juice? Do you use the foam in recipes? Do you spice the juice? I use the pulp for muffins. Any other ideas.

Just found your website and will be coming to it again. Thanks

Comment by sandra mews Sun Aug 28 11:33:51 2011

I froze my juice. The cider can be canned, but then it'll come out tasting a lot more like storebought apple juice and less like cider.

I didn't actually use the foam and pulp for anything --- just gave it to the chickens. I didn't spice it either, but it's pretty easy to make mulled cider by gently heating your cider in a pot on the stove with a cinnamon stick, some cloves, a wedge of lemon, and whatever else suits your fancy.

Comment by anna Sun Aug 28 15:26:09 2011
I picked apples this morning and tried them in my juicer for the first time. I had the same results. It's kind of messy but I don't think an apple press would be any easier. I was wondering about a use for the apple foam also. I mixed some with plain yogurt and added a little honey- tasted good.
Comment by Lisa Fri Sep 9 12:40:34 2011
I'm glad to hear it worked for you too! The results for us were definitely delicious (although that will depend on the type of apples you use --- a mixture is supposed to give best flavor.)
Comment by anna Fri Sep 9 13:28:37 2011
I went out and picked more apples. I did as you suggested, I didn't bother with coring- I just cut them to fit in the juicer. Worked fine and what a time saver! I now have a gallon of cider in my freezer. I was worried my juicer was a frivolous expense but now it's worth it just to make cider. No need for a press. My chickens and goats are very happy with the left-overs
Comment by Lisa Fri Sep 9 15:38:49 2011
I know what you mean about making the livestock happy. Our chickens like nothing more than sweet corn preservation day, although tomato sauce days are a close second. :-)
Comment by anna Fri Sep 9 19:39:21 2011

Another option for your apple juice is to cook it down like maple syrup and make boiled cider which can be canned up like maple syrup. I made it for the first time last year and it's a great addition to apple pies, adding as a natural sweetener or just putting it to a glass of water to make apple juice. Here is a nice site to get more info: Thanks for the nice blog and happy harvesting.

Comment by Sue Bullock Sun Sep 11 15:50:51 2011
I'm thrilled to see so many people exploring different ways of juicing apples on the home scale. Thanks for sharing, Sue!
Comment by anna Sun Sep 11 21:15:39 2011
I am from upstate New York ... missing my yummy apple cider after moving to Oklahoma ... and for years, even with a press haven't been able to make cider... I even planted apple trees bought a press ( my husband makes beers and wines also) but to no success... I am going to try juicing it... I am so glad I stumbled onto your site :)
Comment by Sue Wed Oct 9 11:51:36 2013

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