It’s a common misconception that apples can be juiced whole, but crushing your apples before pressing them is essential! In this guide we’ll break down how to crush your fruit, why you should and give you some equipment recommendations.
Why Crush Apples?
As above, crushing your fruit to the proper consistency before pressing is essential to maximise your juice yield. A body of unbroken fruit has a great resistance to pressure, so it must first be broken down in order to extract juice. Even the huge presses used by commercial cider makers are fed with finely milled apples.
Any sound fruit is suitable; blemishes and the occasional wormhole are not a problem but mouldy or rotten fruit must be avoided. Windfall fruit is perfectly acceptable but it is advisable to wash off any mud before crushing. The size of fruit is not important although small apples are likely to yield proportionately less juice than large juicy ones. The general rule is if you wouldn’t eat it then don’t make juice or cider with it.
How to Crush Your Apples
When crushed, apples form what is known as a pomace. Ideally, this pomace will be of a grated consistency, which will allow juice to be extracted easily without too much of the apple pulp spoiling the quality. Cutting your apples into slices isn’t enough, but at the same time using a food processor will form a puree which is too fine for pressing.
At the most basic level crushing can be accomplished by placing your apples into a large bucket, like our Pulpmaster with Buscket, and pounding them with a clean length of timber. This is a vigorous, labour intensive process that you’ll certainly be feeling the next day! If you must crush this way due to lack of equipment then you can make the job easier by first freezing and then thawing out your apples as this will make the structure of the fruit easier to break down.
Whilst the above method is fine if you are just starting out it will soon become too inefficient to keep up! We would strongly recommend switching to a purpose built apple crusher, we like the Hobby Fruit Crusher and the Classic Fruit Crusher, and have a range of machines available on this site. There are both manually and electrically powered machines available and we have crushers that can handle all levels of production. The blades of these machines, especially the electric mills, have been specifically designed to produce a pomace that is the ideal consistency for pressing. Our favourite electric mills are the Vigo Presses 1.5kW Stainless Steel Apple Mill and the Speidel 2.2kW Apple Mill. Typically you can expect to go from getting less than half of your fruit back as juice by weight to up to 75% with one of our electric mills. They soon pay for themselves in the increased yield.
For more information, see our Crushers and Mills page.
Overall, crushing your fruit correctly before pressing is vital. However you go about it, ensuring you have a pomace of the right consistency will give you more juice of a better quality. We hope you’ve been able to learn something about why you should crush your fruit and how to do so, but if you have any questions then please do feel free to send us an email or call and one of our team will be happy to help you.
When you’re ready, check out our guide on pressing your fruit to see how to extract the delicious juice from your freshly crushed fruit.