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Once crushed, the apples can be pressed. Using our traditional presses, fruit is poured into the cage of the press (the barrel-like part) and pressed by a wooden piston. The piston is pushed down, putting pressure on the fruit, forcing juice out through the gaps in the cage staves. The staves are positioned closely to reduce the escape of pomace, pips and skin and a straining bag can used to further reduce the amount of solids in the juice. The juice flows onto the base plate of the press and out through the lip or drain hole into a jug, bowl or bucket.
Once the pomace has been pressed dry the mechanism is unwound, the cage lifted off the base plate and the cake of dry pomace pushed out. The presses require minimal maintenance: a rinse with fresh water and a touch of vegetable oil to the screw thread is all that is required. The pressed pomace can be composted or fed to livestock.
With practice you should be able to do three or more pressings in an hour. Apples will yield up to 50% or more juice by weight. As a rough guide, 20 lbs of apples will yield up to about one gallon of juice. Thus, for example, a 12 litre press used with apples will give an hourly output of around 3 gallons (14 litres).
The juice you will produce will be naturally cloudy and will contain small particles of suspended apple solid – as this contributes a great deal to the flavour and texture there should be no need to filter. Fresh juice is so tasty that you will find a lot is drunk immediately; however, it will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days before it begins to ferment. To store juice for longer periods, see Storing apple juice.
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