Make Your Own Car Jack Cider Press and Homemade Cider! Recipes Included!

By into the rustic - 10:25 AM

You Ain't Got Jack...

I know this doesn't exactly sound sanitary, mixing edibles with car mechanics, but the jack is the most important part of making your own cider press, and everyone should have one, so there's no need to go out and buy materials.

But if for some reason you don't own a car and you don't have a jack, you can borrow a friends or neighbors, promising a cup of fresh cider in return!

Tools Required To Build Cider Press

1.) Car Jack -(scissor type jack)

2.) Strong frame for jack or equally strong front porch (more on this later)

3.) Cloth Bag (used to put crushed apples in to hold in the skins while pressing out the juice)

4.) Tray with spout cut out (funnels pressed cider into a bucket below)

5.) Food safe bucket to catch cider

6.) Bricks or cinder blocks (help to add additional pressure from car jack to pulped apples

7.) Thick wooden board around same size as tray, at least 1"thick, to place on top of cloth bag with apples to apply pressure from jack

If you don't want to go to the trouble to build a frame to surround your press, if you have enough space under your porch you can use the pressure of the houses foundation against the jack.

If you decide to build your own frame, there are no rules, just make sure that the base and top are heavy enough to support the pressure of the press. 2x4s, some bolts, and a little human ingenuity will go a long way. It may start to look like a medieval torture device, so I wouldn't leave it just out in the front yard-tongues will wag!

Prepping Your Apples for Pressing

1.) Primo Pickin' - First pick out what apples you want to use. Choosing the apples that have fallen to the ground and are not too bruised is a good choice so as not to waste any. Try mixing different kinds of apples to get a more fuller cider taste.

2.) Wash and Deworm - From the apples you have selected, wash them gently in cool water in the sink. Check carefully for any serious bruising/discoloration or worm holes. Cut these out.

3.) Peel it! - Using a hand peeler or if you have a apple peeler like the contraption on the left, you are golden!

I remember the fated christmas where my mom gave all the kids the LLBean Apple Peeler. It's a tradition to have at least 5 LLBean catalogs next to the couch with a marker next to it to wish and want.

I'd highly recommend getting their gizmo, it's around 30 bucks, so it's not to tight on your wallet, and they last forever!!

4.) Chop Chop - Using a large knife, carefully chop up your apples into chunks. If you have a food processor, take these chunks and pulse them a couple of times to make an apple mash. Save the juice from your mash to add to the cider later.

5.) Wrap it Up - Take some cheesecloth or a nylon mesh bag, or some clean cloth and open up on your counter top. Place the apples you want to press in the center of the cloth. Fold the sides in like an envelope until all of your apples are encased.

Pressing Your Cider

This is the step that takes the most patience. It is a slow process of gradually adding pressure to squeeze as much of the juice out of your apples as possible.

1.) Take your cloth bag full of apples and place it on the tray with the lip cut out on your cider press base. On top of the bag place your thick wooden square board on top and any bricks or concrete slabs you want to add as weight. Slowly crank out the car jack until the edges are firmly fixed between the top frame of your press (or under your porch) and the top of your wooden boards or bricks.

2.) Keep cranking until you can not physically crank the jack anymore.

3.) You should see the juices running out of the bag, while the pulp is kept inside. The tray you have below your bag should have the spout leading to your food safe bucket.

4.) Unwind your jack and replace with more bags of chopped apple if you have more. Repeat steps.

Storing Cider

You can either keep your cider refrigerated (will last 2 weeks below 36ºF) or you can can it or freeze it.

If you don't properly store your pressed cider, or consume it immediately, after 3 days you will have a bubbling mixture and then eventually it will turn into hard cider.

Freezing Your Cider

You don't need to heat treat the cider first. Just pour it into any freezer safe containers and put into your freezer. Keep in mind that the liquid will expand about 10% when it becomes frozen, so leave enough room at the top when you're filling your containers for this.

Your cider will keep for a year frozen like this.

Canning Your Cider

Heat your cider until it is simmering. Pour hot juice into hot canning jars. Leave 1/2" of headspace in the jars. Top with lids. Process in a boiling hot water bath.

Processing Time For Canning Cider Based on Your Locations Altitude

Under 1,000 Ft.= 5 Minutes

1,001-6,000 Ft.= 10 Minutes

Above 6,000 Ft.= 15 Minutes

The Best Cider Recipes & Beverages

 Mulled Apple Cider

*1 qt. Apple Cider

*10 Whole Cloves

*1 Cup Maple Syrup

*4 Cinnamon Sticks


Instructions: Take your cider and pour it into a large saucepan. Add the cloves and bring to just below a boil. Now add the maple syrup and stir until mixed in evenly. Serve hot in mugs or use edible cups made out of whole apples. (See Picture above in Blog). Add Cinnamon sticks to the cups and top each cup with freshly grated nutmeg.

Cider Tea

*4 Cups Apple Cider

*2 Cups Tea (black tea)

*Juice of 2 oranges

*1 lemon

*sugar to taste

Instructions: Combine above ingredients and simmer on low in a stainless steel saucepan. Serve.

Cider Ale

*1 Cup Orange Juice

*1/4 Cup Lemon Juice

*2 Cups Cider

*2 Cups Ginger Ale

Instructions: Combine above ingredients and serve chilled.

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