cider juice and apples on a cloth

In today’s age of mass-produced beverages, the time-honored practice of home apple cider making has faded into obscurity. Yet, there’s a profound satisfaction in indulging in cider crafted with your own hands, where each sip carries a personal touch.

Whether you stumble upon an old cider press in your attic or seek to rekindle a connection with authentic flavors, one question looms: how do you begin?

Look no further. This article serves as your golden key, unlocking the secrets of traditional juice press. Our comprehensive guide empowers homeowners to reclaim this cherished tradition and relish the finest cider straight from their own backyard.

From selecting the perfect apples to mastering the pressing process, we provide expert tips and step-by-step instructions tailored for beginners. Embrace the art of apple pressing and savor the unmatched taste of homemade cider with our invaluable insights.

**If you’re looking to make sweet cider without a press, scroll to the bottom for an overnight crockpot recipe.**

apple cider press

The Benefits of Home Pressed Juice

In today’s fast-paced world, where convenience often trumps tradition, there’s a unique pleasure in embracing the roots—quite literally through apple pressing. If you’ve ever contemplated the allure of creating your own cider, here are compelling reasons why this age-old tradition is worth every drop of effort.


  1. Have you ever pondered the journey of a drink before it reaches your glass? With home apple pressing, you not only experience this wonder firsthand but also share it with friends and family. Imagine the joy on their faces as they witness the enchanting transformation from fruit to cider.

    Furthermore, home apple pressing puts you in charge of your ingredients. Whether sourced from your backyard tree or a trusted local orchard, you’ll have full transparency about the origin of your apples. This direct connection to the source guarantees a level of quality that rivals seasoned brew masters.

    Say goodbye to worries about additives, preservatives, or the watering down often found in commercial ciders. Each glass poured from your own batch is a testament to purity and excellence, boasting the distinct flavor of the carefully selected apples you’ve chosen. Embrace the art of cider-making and savor the unparalleled satisfaction of crafting your own batch from start to finish.

  2. Personal Touch

    Unlock the artist within through home apple pressing, where each batch of cider becomes a canvas for your creativity. Blend tart Granny Smiths with the sweetness of Honeycrisps for a harmonious flavor profile, or infuse a spicier edge with old-world apple varieties. Pressing at home allows you to experiment and craft unique flavors that bear your signature blend. With each batch, explore, refine, and eventually master the nuanced art of apple combinations, making every sip a personal expression of your cider-making journey.

  3. Environmental Benefits

    In today’s sustainability-focused era, every action matters. Pressing your own apples for cider isn’t just a hobby—it’s a conscious choice to reduce waste and carbon emissions associated with commercial production and packaging. Consider the transportation of bottled ciders across long distances, the energy-intensive production processes, and the excessive packaging. Opting for local, manual methods not only ensures a fresher product but also signifies a commitment to the environment. With every bottle filled at home, you’re diverting one away from the commercial production line, contributing to a more sustainable future. It’s a small step, but it’s a meaningful one toward embracing the principles of living off the land.

traditional press

Getting started with home apple pressing

Diving into the world of pressing can feel both exhilarating and a tad overwhelming. Much like embarking on a new culinary adventure, the right ingredients and tools are paramount. But fret not; this is where the excitement truly begins. By understanding the essentials and the nuances of preparation, you’ll be well on your way to mastering this timeless craft.

  1. Essential Tools and Equipment

    At the heart of this endeavor lies the apple press—a beautiful amalgamation of form and function. While there are many variations to choose from, the magic really lies in finding the one that resonates with you.

  • Traditional Cider Presses: These are the classics, often made of wood and cast iron. They evoke a sense of nostalgia, transporting you to a time where the rhythm of pressing was as much a dance as it was a process. For those of you looking to embrace the authentic experience, this is your go-to. You’ll want to scour thrift shops and antique stores for these.
  • Modern Alternatives: As technology has evolved, so have cider presses. Today, you can find hydraulic and electric variants that make the process swifter and more efficient. If you’re pressed for time or are looking to produce larger batches, these might be your best bet. Modern apple cider pressers can easily be found online.
  1. Choosing the Right Apples

    Not all apples are created equal, especially when it comes to pressing. The type of apple you choose will greatly influence the flavor, sweetness, and acidity of your cider.

  • Sweet Varieties: Think Honeycrisp, Gala, or Fuji. These apples impart a naturally sugary note, reducing the need for added sweeteners.
  • Tart Varieties: Granny Smiths and Bramleys offer a zesty kick, perfect for those who prefer a tangier edge to their cider.
  • Old-World Apples: If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, delve into historic varieties like Kingston Black or Dabinett. These apples, often used in traditional cider-making, bring a depth of flavor that’s truly unique and needs to be tasted to be appreciated.

Remember, there’s no fixed formula. Part of the joy lies in experimentation, so mix and match until you find your perfect blend.

  1. Preparing Apples for Pressing

    Quality in = quality out. To ensure that your pressed cider juice is top-notch, the apples you use need a bit of TLC.

  • Washing: Start by giving your apples a thorough rinse. This helps in removing any dirt, pesticides, or unwanted residues.
  • Cutting: While smaller apples can be pressed whole, larger ones benefit from being quartered. This not only makes pressing more efficient but also ensures maximum juice extraction.
  • Inspecting: Keep a keen eye out for any rotten or overly bruised apples. A single bad apple can affect the flavor of your entire batch, so it’s best to set those aside.
cider making

The Cider Pressing Process

Ah, the pivotal moment has arrived. With your apples prepped and your equipment at the ready, it’s time to engage in the rhythmic dance that is apple pressing. While it might appear simple at first glance, mastering the process is both an art and a science, blending careful technique with a pinch of intuition.

  1. Step-by-Step Guide to Pressing Apples

  • Loading the Press: Begin by placing your prepared apples into the press basket. If your press has a grinder or scratter, make sure to feed the apples through it first. This breaks them down into a pulp, making the extraction process more effective.
  • Applying Pressure: Slowly start turning the press handle (or activate the hydraulic/electric mechanism if you’re using a modern press). As you do so, you’ll see the glorious apple juice begin to flow. It’s a sight to behold and a testament to your preparatory efforts.
  • Collecting the Juice: Place a container under the press to catch the flowing juice. Depending on your press design, you might also have a spout directing the juice flow. Make sure to keep an eye on the container’s level and replace it when full.
  • Re-pressing: Sometimes, giving the apple pulp another press can yield more juice. Don’t be hesitant to press the pulp a second time, ensuring you’ve extracted every last drop.
  1. Tips for Efficient Extraction and Maximizing Juice Yield

  • Layering: When loading your press, consider layering different apple varieties. This not only blends flavors but can also aid in more efficient juice extraction.
  • Consistent Pressure: Rather than rushing, apply steady and consistent pressure. This ensures that the juice is extracted evenly and reduces the chances of missing any.
  • Moistening the Pulp: If you find the pulp too dry, sprinkling it with a bit of water can aid in the extraction process.
  1. Safety Precautions and Best Practices

  • Stability: Ensure your press is on a stable surface. If you’re using a traditional manual press, sudden shifts or wobbles can be hazardous.
  • Cleanliness: Regularly clean your press to avoid any bacterial build-up. After each pressing session, wash all parts that come into contact with the apples or the juice.
  • Mind Your Hands: Particularly when using a grinder or scratter, be extremely careful with your hands. Always use the provided safety tools or pushers.
  • Storage: If you’re not using your press regularly, store it in a cool, dry place to prevent any rust or degradation.
pressed apple juice and hard apple fruit

Storing and Enjoying Your Cider Juice

Once the pressing is complete, the journey of your apple juice is far from over. It evolves, much like a story unfolding, waiting to be written by you. Whether you prefer the raw purity of fresh apple juice or the mature complexity of fermented cider, the way you store and enjoy it can significantly influence its flavor and aroma.

  1. The Basics of Fermentation

  • Turning Juice into Alcoholic Cider juice: For those looking to add a spirited twist to their apple juice, fermentation is the way to go. Begin by transferring your fresh juice into a sterilized fermentation vessel, such as a carboy or a fermentation bucket. Adding a cider yeast kickstarts the fermentation process, turning the natural sugars into alcohol. The magic unfolds over weeks, so patience is key. Monitor the fermentation, and once completed, you’ll have a batch of delightful alcoholic cider waiting to be savored.
  • Optional Steps: Some enthusiasts opt to add sugar or honey to boost alcohol content, while others introduce additional flavors through fruits or spices. Remember, this is your canvas, and the nuances are yours to craft.
  1. Storing Fresh Apple Juice

  • Refrigeration: The simplest method, refrigeration preserves the fresh taste of your apple juice. Typically, refrigerated apple juice can last up to 7-10 days. Ensure it’s stored in an airtight container to retain its freshness.
  • Pasteurization: For a longer shelf life, consider pasteurizing your juice. This involves heating the juice to eliminate any harmful bacteria, then swiftly cooling it. Once pasteurized and bottled, the juice can last for several months in a cool storage space.
  • Shelf Life: Always label your containers with the date of pressing. This helps in monitoring freshness and ensures you enjoy the juice at its optimal flavor.
  1. Serving Suggestions

  • Cold Ciders in Summer: There’s nothing quite like a chilled glass of apple cider on a warm summer day. Serve it over ice, garnished with a slice of apple or a sprig of mint for a refreshing treat.
  • Warm, Spiced Ciders in Winter: As the chill of winter sets in, warm apple cider becomes a comforting delight. Heat your cider gently on the stove, infusing it with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. The warmth, combined with the aromatic spices, creates a beverage that’s akin to a cozy hug on a cold day.
alternative hard apple fruit servings

Crafting Apple Cider in a Crockpot Overnight

Likely tucked away in the back corners of your kitchen, the humble crockpot stands ready to turn autumn’s bounty into delicious apple cider.

1. Assembling the Ingredients:

  • Apples: 10 to 12 of both sweet and tart varieties, quartered.
  • Sweetness: A cup of sugar or equivalent sweetener to balance the apples’ natural flavors.
  • Spices: A few cinnamon sticks, some lemon peel, a hint of allspice, and a dash of nutmeg to evoke the essence of fall.
  • Water: 4 to 5 quarts, ensuring all elements are submerged.

2. The Slow-Brew Process:

  • Initiation: Layer the crockpot with apples, sweetener, and spices. Pour in the water.
  • Simmering: Set to a low setting and let the ingredients meld for 6 to 8 hours or even better – overnight. As the apples soften, their flavor melds with the spices.
  • Extraction: Once the apples are tender, mash them within the crockpot. Let this mixture simmer for an added hour.

3. Finishing Touches:

Strain the concoction using a sieve or cheesecloth, discarding the solids. What remains is a pure, warm apple cider – a tribute to autumn, crafted in the heart of your very own kitchen.

an apple fruit orchard

Rent an RV and Visit an Apple Orchard!

Indulge in the ultimate apple cider adventure by hitting the open road in your RV. Picture orchards stretching as far as the eye can see, with the opportunity to wake up amidst the very trees that bear the fruit of your passion. Discover countless small-scale apple orchards waiting to be explored, each offering a unique experience.

And here’s the kicker: as you plan to craft cider, why not forge friendships with the growers themselves? Building connections with apple growers not only enhances your cider-making journey but also enriches your adventure with insider knowledge and shared passion. It’s time to turn your apple pressing hobby into a full-blown exploration, where every twist of the road brings you closer to the essence of cider-making magic.

Browse our fleet of RVs and start planning your next trip today!