I grew up gathering apples from apple trees in my front yard. Picking the ones I could reach or picking up the good ones without too many bugs from the ground. I’d even climb the tree if there were some in reach. Child labor at its best.

After all the apples were gathered, we’d sit in my grandma’s kitchen and eat parts of apples as she cleaned, cored, and prepped them to make applesauce. At least I think that is what we were doing with a small metal press that was probably as old as my grandma. The delicious applesauce was canned and lasted through the summer, winter, and spring until the apples started growing again.

To celebrate fall, our friends rented an apple press from local tool library and invited us over. It was simple, we were asked to bring apples and supplies (cutting boards, knives, and empty pitchers). Unsure on how many apples to buy, we bought 4.5 lbs.

Along with others invited to the party, we all took turns learning the simple process of making apple cider. Maybe next year we’ll even host our own party.

1. Pick or buy apples.

2. Wash the apples.

Whether you picked your apples outside or bought them in the store, the apples should be at least rinsed as no preservatives are added.

3. Cut the apples.

cutting apples

For the apple press we were using, we quartered the apples. There’s no need core the apples.

4. Add the mesh-lining to the bucket.

apple press

The mesh is used as a strainer to keep the apple pulp getting into the cider.

5. Add a catch pot or bucket for the juices.

apple juice

The apple juice will drip out of the pomace, or apple mash, when grinding the apples. Make sure to catch all the juice by placing your catch container where the liquid will drain.

6. Add apples to the fruit grinder.

apple grinder

Toss the apples and turn the hand crank. The grinder will mash the apples into the mesh-lined bucket for pressing.

7. Press the pomace.

press the pomace

First, add the pressing lid to the top of the pomace.

apple press

Second, add the press mechanism to the lid and crank it until the juice stops draining into your catch container.

8. Empty the pomace into compost and repeat.

apple pomace

Divide the cider to growlers or bottles and share with friends. I suggest bringing a flask of whiskey to the party to spice up the cider.

Make your own apple press.

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