From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pulp friction

Well, I set aside Wednesday to see if I could do anything useful with that half-bushel of apples (previous post).

I had no pulper, so I quartered up the washed fruit and blitzed it in the food processor.  What a PAIN.  You have to cut the apples slices small enough to get into the safety chute.

I took the blitzed fruit and, again, mimicking some blogs, I made up 'pillows' of pomace (smashed fruit) using 2 layers of cheesecloth.  I ended up with 4 pillows.

Meanwhile, down in the basement, I jerry-rigged a press using a (newly acquired for the purpose) 4-ton bottle jack.  I built the 'press' in one of the basement doorways.  (I really need a keeper!)

Then I laid the pillows on an inverted stainless steel colander and started pumping the jack.

In theory, this should have worked.  But there were flaws in the system.  I had had to use a 3x3 stud to span the gap from the jack to the top of the door frame.  It was, alas, inherently 'wobbly' and with the soft fruit under the press, the jack tended to tip.  So I couldn't really apply as much pressure as I needed.

At the end of the day, I was tired and not very happy with this little venture.

The kitchen was half compost pile and half junk yard (as it seemed I had to use most anything BIG that I owned).

And the final result for all that?

Just over 2 measly quarts!!  There was another 3C from a previous juicing without the press, but I was so tired after THAT fiasco, I just drank it all.... :-/

Darn.  There's not enough juice here to make cider, that's for sure, so I just bagged it up and put it into the freezer.

I still want to make fizzy cider, but now my quest is for a couple of gallons of fresh pressed local cider that has been pasteurized and contains no yeast-killing additives.

Yeah -- like THAT's going to be any easier to find!

About the only good thing right now is - the house smells like an apple orchard.

Oh well -- onward....!

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  1. Ahhh, we live and learn.

    Our local orchard sells their own cider. I don't think it is pasteurized though. Did you check out Ilene's link about cider? I think he recommended Musselman's from Wal Mart as having zero added ingredients. It seems ascorbic acid is an ok additive.

    Have you tried making apple jelly? It is one of our favorites.

    1. Hi Glenda - the local WalMarts here do not carry the Musselman's that the site recommends, so I'm still looking around. Pasteurized is ok - it's the yeast-killing added ingredients that you need to avoid.

      Yep, I could make jelly out of the 2 quarts, but I'm hoping it's gonna be made into cider yet. Fingers crossed. This year is the learning curve.

  2. Well, here is my progress on the juice-making. I had 7 and 1/2 ice cream tubs of shredded apple in the freezer, I estimate it came to about ten gallons because each tub holds a gallon and a quart. I had shredded these in my Cuisinart after washing, quarting, and cutting out the core, and then froze because I had so many, I had NO idea what I was going to do with them.

    When I made juice this summer, I tried the steam juicer and it just seemed like it wasted a lot. So then I cooked it and went the route with the cheesecloth and man, it was a LOT of work, and real messy. I have a grape press that I bought for my dad when he was growing grapes, and then when I found out that they were just using it to hold artificial flowers on top of their tv, I traded him something else for it. That was years ago. I'd tried to use it once before but had problems with the cheesecloth "bag". The "lace curtain" thing worked like a charm, but instead of making "packets", I just lined the inside of the press with it and left it open. It worked like a charm! For the time being I just refroze the juice, I don't have my supplies bought yet. Using the press got a lot more juice out than I've been able to get using any other method. I ended up with about five gallons. The shreds were so dry they came out in a "cake" and the chickens weren't even interested in them so they went into the new sweet-potato bed. Heh.

    I think this grape press is meant to be more ornamental than functional, though it's made of cast iron and oak, I didn't trust the way the juice delivery worked. So I jerry-rigged, too, by using my huge restaurant-sized stainless steel bowl with a large Pyrex glass bowl turned upside-down inside it, and the grape press sitting on top of that so that when the juice came flowing out, it would go into the stainless steel bowl and not, for instance, all over a counter and/or the floor. That worked fine. It was a little clumsy and it wobbled, but I was careful, and I'm fairly happy with how it worked. If I decide to do this very often I may try to figure out how to modify it and get Hubs to do it to my specifications. I'm the figurer-outer here, he's the make-it-happener.

    So today I think I'll re-read that tutorial at and try to figure out what I need to order.

    I figure a gallon of shredded apple yields about half a gallon of juice, but it might be different with different varieties.

    Keep on keepin' on!

    1. Oh man, wish I had a real press like you. Glad you got so much juice. Having those apple frozen too, release a lot more juice than fresh ones. Guess I'll be reading YOUR updates rather than mine! You go, girl.

  3. Hey, look up Herrick Kimball's "Anyone Can Build A WhizBang Apple Grinder and Cider Press". As handy as you are with tools, I'd think this would be a good project you could do during the winter. My press is like the Jaffrey Tabletop Fruit Press on Amazon.

    I won't do a post on my sunroseandwindblue blog because this idea was yours in the first place. If it's ok, I'll just report on any progress I make in the comments of your cider posts so it'll all be in the same place. It'll be awhile till I have anything to report as I have to order supplies.

    1. Are you buying a full home-brewing kit from Amazon? I see some for $99.00. I'm still hoping to find some usable cider for my home brew. I'm not a finish carpenter so would not make a whizbang - and I'm pretty leery about using (even new) garbage disposal for pulping apples.

      If I buy more mixed windfall apples, though, I'll make sauce. *heh*

      Still hope you took pictures of your juicing.

  4. No, from They have a pretty good reputation and their prices are reasonable. I just looked on that site I told you about earlier and ordered what I thought I'd need based on that. It came to $60+ but that's because I didn't buy a carboy, I have some glass jugs I think I can use when the time's right for that. But I did buy the brewing bucket. An auto siphon and tubing, one of those squiggly airlocks, and then my campden tablets, champagne yeast, yeast activator, One-Step cleaner and some Star-San.

    Yeah, I had some doubts about how fine a garbage disposal would make the pulp, and wouldn't the motor burn out with no water running through? FOR SURE you'd want a brand-spanking-new one and even then is there oil or grease in it? There are some apple grinders made for that purpose on Amazon but OMG, they're $170 and up! C'MONNNNNNNN, garage sale! Otherwise I'll just stay with using the shredder on my Cuisinart and then freezing it. The freezing/thawing process really makes the juice flow. I thought his version of a press was good though.

    No pictures taken of the juicing, I was leavin' that up to you, kiddo!

    1. It's always nice for readers to see various ways to do the same thing. Could give them more ideas. Sounds like you got the same equipment as me. I've also got 18 16oz plastic bottles/lids that can take carbonation pressure so when my cider (if I ever make some) will have a place to decant from the gallon jugs. Then they'll age. I'll drink a bottle once a month and take notes on taste and fizz.

  5. Good idea, those bottles. I might get some, too. Haven't thought that far ahead.

    1. Buying those 16 oz bottles new I could only find @ $1/ea! So I bought a case of 16 oz carbonated water. Will drain/rinse & sterilize. Only $.45/bottle AND I get to drink the original contents.