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Fruit Scratter

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by BucksCoBernie, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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    Im making cider soon and just found a supply of free apples. I need to build a scratter to make pulp before i can press the juices. I know oak is the preferred wood for anything that touches the apple/juice. With that being said I do have an 8" diameter red oak branch in the wood pile that I could use to make a cylinder...my question is would anyone who's made cider/wine before use a piece of oak from their wood pile and how do i make sure it doesnt absorb juice and possibly contaminate my finished product?

    My idea is to cut the 8" diameter branch to an 8" length and use a lathe to skim off about 1-2 inches off the branch to get down to about a 6"Dx8"L cylinder then put some stainless steel screws into it.

    Do you think this would work?

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  2. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I don't have any experience but this is the contraption I'm experimenting with if it gives you any ideas.

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  3. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie New Member

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  4. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I didn't buy it but I think it is the Homesteader. Not sure how well it works but it has been in the family for a couple decades.

    https://www.happyvalleyranch.com/?gclid=CL_EgoKD6qMCFeQD5Qodm16i0w

    It has a big cast flywheel type weight hand crank. But, this is tedious for a one-man operation. I am getting the parts together to power it with an electric motor as I damn near burned out that cheap drill in my experiment and it stopped on every apple. When it did work, it sent 4' of spray out. The basic design seems to make sense just need to fine tune the powering of the masher.
  5. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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  6. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    A garbage disposal (the type that goes in the sink drain) with stainless innards (and of course not having been previously used for its original purpose) makes a remarkably effective fruit schredder.

    I ran across the idea on the www a few years ago and put one together for use with my friends' apple cider press (which had an old and worn hand crank grinder).

    You get a finer pulp, and as a result, higher net juice yield.

    I can give more details later if the concept is of interest (and you can Google the topic, too).
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Replaced the drill nonsense with the original flywheel hand crank while it was raining today. Made cider with some of the neighbors apples that would otherwise go on our compost pile...good stuff.
  8. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    If you could find a split that was big enough, it would be far less likely to crack open when it dries. You want to avoid "boxed heart" if you can avoid it. Also, maple would be my first choice, maybe even box elder as long as it was clean and not smelly.
  9. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    Can I ask a stupid question? What is the difference b/w apple cider and apple juice? Is Juice filtered more? I don't remember my parents adding any spices to the apple "juice" when we made it as a kid. What gives?
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I can't give you a definitive answer as to the differences . . . all I can say is that I dislike apple juice, but love drinking good cider. Juice to me seems more filtered . . . of course I also refuse to buy pasteurized apple cider . . . folks say there isn't a difference, but I know I can taste the difference -- to me pasteurized cider tastes just like apple juice . . . somehow it loses some of its flavor when it is pasteurized.
  11. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    There is plenty of flavor when you take the fruit off the tree, run it through the press and pour it in a glass :) That is the first time I have had it that fresh and it is pretty agreeable.
  12. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Last year I purchased plans to make the "Whizbang Cider Press" from Herrick Kimball:

    http://www.whizbangcider.com/

    While I've not had a chance to build it yet, the plans are detailed and very comprehensive. I'd recommend you guys take a look.
  13. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    I have one of the rectangular frame presses with a hydraulic jack, similar to the picture from BackPack09.
    My father built mine years ago. You set up the apple pulp in cloth bags, topped with a birch slat rack covered in paraffin wax. You a make a stack of about 4 bags+slats, then a solid cover piece, then the jack.

    It is slow and frustrating because the travel on the jack is not enough for a round of pressing.
    So I have to jack, release, shim, rejack etc.
    It all works, but I would prefer a better system.
    What I really need is a better grinder; the garburator idea is good. I have also seen the wooden drum with stainless steel screw shredders (scratter?).
  14. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    The link I posted has plans that details the use of a garbage disposal to make mash for pressing. The guy who sells the plans seems to have experimented quite a bit before settling on the garbage disposal method.

    Fresh cider is exceptional. The only apple-derived beverage I've had that might be better is hard cider fermented with a generous helping of locally produced honey (so much that the beverage was technically a mead). That stuff was so tasty ....
  15. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    I like the look of the Whizbang guy's grinder, but his presser relies upon a short-travel jack just like mine.
    But, with a better grinder, the pressing might be alot easier.
  16. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    Doug - in the plans, he makes use of both a bottle jack and a screw-type jack. I do remember that he did use shims when pressing.

    According to the plans, using the garbage disposal to make mash really increased the volume of juice he got per pressing.

    I hope that this thread is updated once people start pressing and processing. Apple cider is one of the great joys of Fall!
  17. Cutter

    Cutter New Member

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    A couple of thoughts here. I was discussing the garbage disposal idea on a wine forum and was warned about not wanting to grind up apple seeds as they contain traces of cyanide. I also have used presses with bottle jacks. And as mentioned above having to keep putting more and more blocks turned me off. Acme thread is the answer I truly believe. I picked up a nice clean little used adjustable scaffold foot/leg. I have attached a 1 1/2" white oak plug on the bottom of the foot plate. I am fitting the adjusting wings between two heavy pieces of oak to make the cross beam and am in search of a heavy steel wheel of some sorts to weld to the top of the shaft for the turning wheel. When all is said and done I will have about 16" of travel with my press. I won't have it done before the apples are ready so I will have to go use the neighbors 1859 grinder and press. I wished it were mine.
    A glass of Mulled apple wine in front of the fireplace on a cold winters night. Oh yea.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Only alcohol I drink is hard cider . . . love Woodchuck Cider . . . made in Vermont . . . very good stuff. Didn't like my brother's attempt to make hard cider though -- tasted like fermented paint thinner. ;)
  19. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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  20. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    FFJ - I like Woodchuck as well. Hornsby's dark is also good. However, the best I've had was some stuff made by a guy I work with - he made four batches: 2 that had honey added (one with spice, one without) and 2 without extra sugar, so lower alcohol content (one with spice, one without). The batches with the honey added were exceptional. I'm going to try making a batch myself this year.

    SolarandWood - that places looks great. You could pick some apples and then enjoy a post-picking apertif.
  21. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    My friends son gave me a few sips of hard cider one of the people he used to work for made. That was great stuff!!! Anyone got or can tell me where to get a directions on how to make it?

    Billy
  22. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I'll ask the guy here at work - I need the recipe anyway.
  23. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I don't have the cider directions yet but found mead instructions and figured I'd post them anyway:

    In answer to your question, I believe in Keeping it Simple. Boil the water (with part of a Camden tablet), add honey to 17.5% P.A., partially cool, pitch WL720 yeast, and wait.

    Boil the Water
    I boil the water with about 1/4 to 1/2 potassium metabisulfite (Camden) tablet per 5 gallons of water. This gets rid of chlorine and any chloramines. (In some systems, chloramine is added instead of chlorine, but even is chlorine systems, the chlorine can react with any protein (poly amino acids) and form some chloramines.)

    Add Honey to 17.5% Potential Alcohol
    Off the stove, I then pour the honey into the hot water or the hot water into the honey. In ALL of the mead I have ever made in the past 11 years, I have used/reused from a batch of White Labs WL720 - a sweet mead yeast that gives citrus tones during the fermentation. Some year I will try some other yeasts (as my son in Australia keeps proposing that I do), but I haven't found a listed flavor profile that is better than this yeast. I will provide a starter for anyone that wants what might now be a different yeast than I started with. Anyway, I know that the alcohol tolerance for this yeast is about 12% to 14% and I like my final mead to have residual sweetness of 3 1/2 to 5 1/2% potential alcohol (one of the three scales on almost all hydrometers). So, the last 300 to 400 pounds of honey I have made into honey water with potential alcohol of 17 1/2% at 68F (my basement temperature). {Note Well - MAKE SURE your final measurements are taken at 68 to 70F, because temperature has a DRAMATIC impact on the hydrometer readings. This should take about 3 pounds of honey per gallon, (Probably per gallon of honey water instead of per gallon of starting water - but I never weigh the honey - I just measure it with a hydrometer.)

    Cool to at least 80F, Pitch, and then Wait
    Need to cool a) so it doesn't break glass carboys and b) so it doesn't kill the yeast. I found it starts faster if the honey water is still warm. I siphon the honey water into the carboy because this tends to leave pollen, dirt, bee wings, etc. on the sides of the mixing container.

    Options
    If you want the fermentation to go faster, you can add yeast energizer and yeast nutrient either to the hot water or to the honey water at any time. Also an option is a drop of olive oil - which is said to provide starting material for the yeast walls. Literature claims 1 drop per 20 gallons, but I am sure a drop per carboy is fine. If you want you can stir, shake, or otherwise oxygenate the honey water. I started out using yeast energizer, yeast nutrient, magnesium sulfate (Epson salts), vitamin B, ascorbic acid, shaking to oxygenate, and so forth - but have lately (as least started out) making mead that could be entered as a "SHOW MEAD" - which is a mead made without any additional chemicals. I think the results may vary depending on the type of honey. Clover may require more chemicals - but they can be added if the fermentation sticks (in spite of what some people say). For a stuck fermentation, I will add some of the nutrient and/or other chemicals and stir to oxygenate (and bring to a slightly warmer location than my basement - or otherwise provide some extra heat). I figure if you can keep a half full bottle of finished mead in the fridge for 6 months, I really don't need to worry about a little oxygenation part way through the fermentation - which should still ferment out any bad products. My fermentations are slow and so is the clarification - but the results are good.

    Consider some other types of honey. There is considerable difference in the final taste depending on the honey type. In addition to the 120 pounds of clover honey I bought on the SAAZ buy (all fermenting), I also have recently purchased 150 pounds of Tupelo (started another 10 gallons today) to go with my 3 or 4 pails of Orange Blossom honey and a couple of pails of Buckwheat honey. I do not recommend Golden Rod honey (I made the resulting mead into strawberry/cinnamon mead for a wedding). I bought the Clover honey primarily for base meads for my melomels and metheglins, but it can also be OK (but probably not extraordinary) for traditional meads

    I almost always do all of my additions after the honey water has turned into mead. I know that I like the tart cherry flavor of cherries and not the fermented cherry flavor I would get if I added the cherries at the beginning. Unless you WANT the fermented flavor of additions (e.g. wine instead of grape), wait till you have mead. I have yet to hear if there is any change in the fermented vs. non-fermented flavor of spices, but why take a chance. I know most fruit flavors change dramatically. Also, with 12% alcohol, you don't need to worry much about contamination/cleaning/sterilization of fruit/teas/spices.
  24. Cowboy Billy

    Cowboy Billy Minister of Fire

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    Cool! I'll have to get started on my orchard now. My uncles have been trying to get apple trees to grow up there for 40 years and have never had one live more than there years even though there are a few growing alongside the road. I love it when they tell me I can't do something and I just go ahead and get it done!!!!

    Billy
  25. timfromohio

    timfromohio Minister of Fire

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    I received the cider recipe in Excel format, so here it is as a jpg:

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