Apple Cider Picture

Making Apple Cider

You’ll love the taste of homemade apple cider. The fall of 2009 was our first year making apple cider at home.

Picking Fresh Apples

What’s the difference between apple cider and apple juice? In the United States, apple cider comes from pressed apples and apple juice comes from apples that have been processed. They are both 100% apple liquid.

Equipment & Supplies

  • Fresh Apples
  • Fruit Grinder
  • Apple Press
  • Containers for freezing your cider

So how do you make apple cider?

You need to have something to grind up the apples and something to press the apples. I’ve seen many different kinds of apple presses, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages when making apple cider.

The commercial apple presses work the best, but the disadvantage is that they are very expensive. My dad has a friend that has a commercial apple press. He lets my dad use the press to make apple cider. Too bad I don't liver closer. Check out the pictures at the bottom of this page.

You can buy a small wooden press for making apple cider at home. We made our own apple press. If you like to invent things we've given some basic guidelines that we used.

Picking and Grinding Apples

Grining up apples for cider

A local apple farmer told me that apples should to be pressed within three days of picking them for best results.

  • Cut out the bad spots in the apples. Then wash them. You can leave the cores in the apples.
  • Grind up your apples. We run our apples through a fruit grinder.
Mash ready for apple cider
    We hooked the grinder up to a homemade bicycle contraption. You can also turn the grinder by hand.

    Next year, I’m going to put the apples in the blender after they go through the fruit grinder to see if we can get a finer mash (similar to the mash that comes from a commercial grinder). The finer the mash, the easier it is to get cider from the apples. I’m going to experiment to see if it makes that big of difference.

Making Apple Cider Press

Here’s how we pressed our apples. If you’re creative and like to invent things, use some of these basic principles and create your own cider press. Or you can buy a home cider press that’s all ready to go.

Homemade Apple Cider Press Collage #1

  • You can use a hydraulic ram or a hydraulic hand jack as the force behind the press. There are probably many other ways to compress the apples if you start thinking about it.
  • A wooden tray goes under the apple mash that’s wrapped in cloth and another one goes on top. They are made out of new 1” x 2” boards. When you make the trays, leave space between the boards so that the cider can flow out when the apples are being pressed.
  • Lay a piece of cloth on the wooden tray, and put your apple mash in the middle of the cloth. Each corner is then folded in so that it goes up over the mash. The corners overlap so that they’re held tightly in place while under pressure. Use sturdy woven cloth so that the fabric doesn’t break under pressure.

    Lay your second set of apple mash on top of the first one. We only do two sets at a time, but you can do more if you have a larger press.

Homemade Apple Cider Press Collage #2

  • Steel plates are placed on each side of the press for strength. These plates never touch the apples or the cider. Only clean wood that has been washed ever touches the apples and cider.
  • A clean black plastic bag sits on a wooden tray that has a one-inch lip around the edge. A notch is cut out where the cider drains into the clean five-gallon bucket.

Disclaimer: Provident Living Today takes no responsibility for the apple press you build. You are expected to use good judgment, common sense, and reason. The information on this page is only provided to give you ideas. You are solely responsible for your safety and well-being.

Throw the apple pulp back on to the garden. It’s great fertilizer and helps to acidify the soil. See Types of Garden Soil.

Storing you’re Apple Cider

To store apple cider, you’ll need to freeze it. You can pour your apple cider into any plastic food container. Remember to leave a couple inches of headspace at the top of your container. The cider expands when it freezes.

Apple Cider  and Apple Juice

You can also process your apple cider in a boiling water canner, but then it won't be apple cider. It will be apple juice.

We freeze some of our cider but don’t have room for all of it in the freezer. We process most of our cider in quart jars. See Boiling Water Canner for details and processing times.

Making apple cider using a apple press is a lot faster than using the steamer juicer to make apple juice. That's why we made an apple cider press.

The taste of fresh homegrown apple cider and apple juice is delicious!


Return To:

Home Canning from Making Apple Cider
Canning Applesauce
Dehydrating Apples
Homemade Apple Juice
How to Store Fresh Apples
Growing Apple Trees
Pruning Apple Trees

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Boiling Water Canner

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Using a Steamer Juicer for Making Applesauce

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Peeling Peaches and Tomatoes Using a Blanch

Blanching Vegetables Dehydrating Food

Simple Step by Step Canning Instructions

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Dehydrating Food

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Other Canning Links

Freezing Vegetables and Fruit

Building and Using a Root Cellar

Storing Apples