Questions about juice efficiency

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BDough

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Hello HBT community,

This site and its community is fantastic and has been a staple in my research when brewing and vinting, so thank you all!

I looked pretty hard to find info before posting, but I haven’t had much luck. I’m seeking any intel you folks might have on the following:

What is the most efficient, practical way to extract juice from fresh fruit in your experience? I don’t usually press my fermenting cider from apples (Though I do for mangoes since I live in FL and I can source them better) but I like to backsweeten the dry cider with fresh juice. I was potentially going to experiment with coring, peeling, and blending my apples to a pulp, then racking the mixture, pulp and all, into a CO2 purged vessel. I would then cold crash it and siphon the remaining juice leaving the pulp behind. Since there are no seeds, I don’t need to worry about tannins putting out off flavors from blending. I also flirted with the idea with supplementing with agar agar to further clarify, but I was concerned about it absorbing some of my sweetening sugar from the apples. Any advice on this would be great!
 

RPh_Guy

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If you can freeze and then thaw the apples, that's probably the easiest method. Juice will literally just leak out of them while they're thawing. Just use any manner of press once they thaw.

The other acceptable method is to crush the apples and then press.
A cheap press can be made from a couple food grade buckets and a drill.

Pureeing the apples or any other methods of juicing generally cause too many problems.
 
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BDough

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Thanks, RPh_Guy. Couple more questions:

If you can freeze and then thaw the apples, that's probably the easiest method. Juice will literally just leak out of them while they're thawing. Just use any manner of press once they thaw.
How “leaky” are we talking? Like enough that I should thaw them in a container to collect juice before the pressing even begins?


The other acceptable method is to crush the apples and then press.
A cheap press can be made from a couple food grade buckets and a drill.
Can you elaborate more on the crushing vs pressing? I probably won’t use it but just for my own education.
 

RPh_Guy

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Leaky enough that there will be a puddle (at least in my experience).
A food-grade container would be a good idea if you don't want them making a mess.

Crushing is just breaking the apples into smaller chunks. Low-tech options include slicing or putting a few in a bucket and smashing a little bit with a baseball bat. Of course there are mechanical crushers or some people make one out of a garbage disposal.

Pressing is the process of extracting the juice by applying pressure.

I'm sure you can find videos about whatever process you want to use.
This guy is using a real crusher and press, showing how fast and easy it is with the right tools:
 
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FunkyMunk

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Peeling and coring the apples are totally unnecessary, IMO. The seeds aren't going to hurt anything. Depending on how much fruit you're dealing with, it might be possible to use a paint strainer bag or a nylon mesh bag like that used in brew-in-a-bag beer brewing, lining a bucket, placing your crushed (or pre-frozen and thawed) apples inside, then suspending the bag over the bucket and squeezing or pressing the juice out. It won't be as efficient as using an a mechanical press but should get the job done.
 

Sequoiacider

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Ahh, the age-old question of how to get juice from apples without the use of a proper press or grinder.
Freezing is a good first step. Once thawed the apples will start to leak juice right away, though you will still need further action to actually get the bulk of juice out of them. The lowest cost method is to make a double-bucket press out of some 5-gallon buckets. Efficiency will be low compared to a real press, but will be better than relying on gravity.

To do this, you will need a nylon mesh bag large enough for a 5-gallon bucket, Three 5 gallon buckets and Two bucket lids. Flip one of the buckets over and drill a bunch of small holes into the bottom. Take one of the lids and drill a bunch of small holes into that as well. Sanitize everything after drilling and be sure to remove any plastic bits.

Take one of the intact buckets and put the Holey lid on it. Set the bucket with bottom holes on top of the lid with holes. Put your Nylon mesh in that bucket and fill it with the frozen-thawed apples. Take your other intact bucket and nest it into the bucket with apples so it is pressing down. Fill that bucket with water for weight. At this point juice should start going into your lower bucket. Put the lid on top of the bucket with water and add some other dense items for weight (bricks, horseshoes, etc.). The pressing will be slow. Give it a few hours. You should end up with a decent amount of usable juice.

Also, there is absolutely zero reason to peel and core the apples beforehand.
 
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