Cidering at the Colliers’ was a great success.  We took the rig over there on the flat-bed trailer at about noon, after spending nearly an hour in Jo-Ann fabrics trying to buy five yards of cotton drill to cut more pieces of press cloth out of.  Fall weather must trigger something in the septuagenarian brain; the little old ladies were out in droves buying cozy fleece and flannel.  Anyway, we set up the pedal grinder on their back deck and got to work.  The new blades and post-crusher worked just as well as last night’s quick experiment indicated they would, and the bed extension and new set of press grates made the pressing operation run much smoother.  In a bit over four hours we processed 352 pounds of apples and produced 252 pounds of juice, for a remarkable 71.6% yield, not counting the stuff that we drank while we were pressing.  We have thus met our goal of matching the performance of the garbage disposal grinder with pedal-powered equipment.

All in all the whole operation ran very smoothly; we produced around 31 gallons in less than four hours, and surely could have made more if we had paid more attention to efficient choreography.  The fruit was a combination of MacIntosh, Summer Treat, and Empire I think, and it pressed out to a powerful 1.056 specific gravity.  The taste was sweet, rich, and full; it would almost have to be cut with water to be truly refreshing.  Emily Blood joined us from the start, and Rob and Janet came by later on, followed by Elfie and Ruth at the end.  After we cleaned up we had a nice dinner with salad, bread, and a curry soup that Emily made, followed by a formidable chocolate peanut butter pie that Ben (Pete’s wife) made.  We then retired to the living room and played tunes; Ruth brought her cello, which added substantially to our usual ensemble.

With the recent upgrades to press and pedal grinder, the equipment has in my mind attained a level of performance that is fully satisfactory for our present needs.  Further improvements (such as the belt press) can proceed at a relaxed pace.  Also of note, I made and tested a mockup to determine whether the interleaved disk concept would work with the press cloth that we use.  I used a jigsaw to cut about 35 arc-shaped chunks, with a 6″ diameter and maybe 2″ tall, out of scrap pine and plywood.  I attached these to a piece of plywood using hot glue in a pattern corresponding to the intended layout of the interleaved discs, and used the resulting assembly as the top plate of the screw press.  The result was that the cloth didn’t pouch down into the gaps between the rollers much at all, and the top layer seemed to press out fine.  Based on that, I think the interleaved-disk continuous press is a viable concept, though I think it may be difficult to truly finish the job with the interleaved disk press, since we won’t be able to leave the pomace in there long enough for the last few percent of the cider to come out.


One Response to “71.6+%!!”

  1. Rob Says:

    So, what I want to know is – Is that contraption OSHA approved? All the safety guards in place?

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