Making Apple Cider Without a Press
You don’t have to have a press to enjoy this wholesome and delicious fall treat.
The best cider is made by blending the flavors from several different apples, but that is not necessary. This year, I have apples from 7 different trees. These trees have not been sprayed and so the apples have dents and dings and have been invaded. Some are packed into a box in the fridge to be eaten for the next several months, but the rest needed to be used. I chose to make applesauce and apple butter, apple cider and hard cider. Directions for the other recipes can be found by following the links at the bottom of the article.
Every cider recipe I found called for using a cider or fruit press, which would make the job easier, but is not something I can spend several hundred dollars on right now. So I set out to find a cheaper way to get the job done. My apples came from trees located next to a dirt road, so their first stop is a sink full of water. I dumped in a whole bunch of apples and filled the sink with water. The apples soaked for 10 minutes or so before I started washing them off with a brush. This step is not totally necessary since, in the old days, the apples were just collected and thrown in the press. But I find the idea of a little dirt a bit disconcerting, so I scrub them about 10 at a time.
Then I start peeling them. The parts go into three piles. One pile has the bruised and wormy parts of the apples for the chickens. The second pile has the peels and cores which be used for cider. The third pile is a 6 quart pot full of the fruit to be made into applesauce.
Once I have about 20 apples worth, I put the peels and cores into the blender. It takes a bit of poking to get the pieces all broken into a pulp. I then dump the contents of the blender into a white cotton kitchen towel. I use the kind of towel that my husbands mom called a tea towel. It doesn’t have any fuzzies on it and is perfect to use over breads that are rising. The apple smush is then squeezed and squeezed until the juice is all in a bowl. I twist and squeeze until I begin to worry about the towel busting.
The juice that is in the bowl is apple cider and is really yummy! I dump it into gallon milk jug that has been rinsed and bleached and rinsed again. The cider will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator. I am lucky if it lasts 24 hours in our house. The kids love it and for us, it is FREE. If you leave a couple of inches free at the top of the gallon jug, you can also place the dicer in the freezer. It will last about 3-4 weeks and will make excellent apple slushies.
A juicer can also be used to break the apples into pieces. I still recommend running the juice through a tea towel and taking the remaining pulp and doing the same to achieve maximum taste and flavor.