One of the best things to make from a large harvest of apples is homemade cider or juice. Instead of drinking store-bought cider full of sugars and additives, you can have a drink made from apples that you selected yourself.
Usually, you need a fruit crusher to make juice. A fruit crusher separates the juice from the rest of the fruit and makes it easier to make drinks.
However, a crusher is also a fairly obscure piece of equipment that not many people have at home.
Even if you do not have a crusher, it is still possible to grind up apples finely enough to get juice using one of the following methods.
How a Crusher Works
An apple crusher, also called a fruit press, is a piece of equipment that grinds up apples and other fruit. The crusher also separates solids such as pulp and seeds from juice, extracting only the finest organic liquids for your enjoyment.
There are several different types of fruit crushers. Traditional ones use a piston and are sometimes called ram presses.
Professional orchards and cideries have large fruit crushers to extract large amounts of juice from their product. However, there are also smaller versions powered by hand cranks that people can use at home.
Not much has changed about the design of crushers, which is still simple since their invention. That is why many people choose to make their own. You can also mimic the function of a crusher using other equipment.
Crushing Apples Without a Crusher
There are many reasons why you may not have a crusher around. Some of them can be prohibitively expensive or take up a lot of space for a piece of equipment you only use a few times a year.
Even though it is possible to make one yourself, that is a lot of effort for kitchen equipment that you do not use that often.
Buying a crusher may make juicing easier, but you can still enjoy homemade juice without one using these methods.
1 – Use a Juice Steamer
A juice steamer (sometimes called a steam juicer) is a pot made up of three sections that uses steam to separate the juice from the fruit. It can be used for apples, berries, and other fruits and vegetables.
To use a juice steamer, fill the bottom section with water which will boil, and then the steam will separate the juice. Then, cut apples into quarters and put them in the top section.
As the water boils, the steam will separate the juice from the pulp and the apple juice will collect in the middle section. The middle section usually comes with a hose that you can use to drain the juice as it’s cooking so that it doesn’t spill over into the boiling water.
A juice steamer is usually less expensive than a fruit crusher and is easier to store. However, it processes less juice than a steamer, so this is useful mostly if you have a small batch of apples you are hoping to juice.
2 – Food Processor
Another piece of kitchen equipment that you can use to crush apples is a food processor. A food processor with a shredding attachment can cut up apples quickly and separate the juice from the pulp.
However, just like the juice steamer, a food processor can only shred small amounts of apples at a time. This method works best if you only have a few apples or you have the patience to spend some time crushing apples in batches.
To maximize effectiveness, freeze the apples first. This increases the juice yield by making the apples easier to crush.
3 – Make Your Own Crusher
If you are working with a large batch of apples, then kitchen equipment such as a food processor or juicer will not be enough to process all those apples. If you don’t want to get a crusher, you can mimic your own at home.
Some people put their apples in a bucket then pound them with a heavy pole or spatula. This releases the juice from the apples by crushing them. Then you can strain it to separate the juice from the solid materials.
Others use more obscure at-home equipment to make their own crusher. Some people use a laundry spinner, an old-fashioned piece of equipment that separates excess water from laundry, to separate the juice from the pulp.
If you are handy with power tools, you can even make your own fruit crusher using spare pieces of wood and equipment such as a drill. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials explaining how to make a crusher.
Tips for the Best Juice
No matter what method you use, you want your apple juice or cider to turn out as tasty as it can, especially if you are going to all this trouble to make it without a crusher.
To increase your juice yield, freeze your apples before crushing them or using kitchen equipment on them. This will increase the juice yield even when you are using less sophisticated methods than a crusher.
It adds some extra time to your work, but quarter your apples before crushing them. This allows you to see their insides and will stop you from adding rotting fruit to your juice by accident.
Getting the Best Out of Your Apples Without a Crusher
Just because you do not have a fruit crusher at home does not mean that you can’t enjoy homemade juice or cider. Crushers can be expensive and wieldy, so there are plenty of ways to avoid getting one.
If you only have a small batch of apples, you can use kitchen equipment such as a juice steamer or food processor to get the juice out of your apples.
For a larger batch, you can replicate a fruit crusher using a bucket and something heavy, such as a wooden pole. You can even make your own crusher at home using online tutorials.
Whatever method you choose, enjoying delicious homemade juice is possible.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.