In West Seattle, there are an abundance of apple and pear trees. And every fall, each tree produces more fresh fruit than one house can consume. Most of the fruit falls to the ground and rots, leaving behind a smelly mess for homeowners to clean up.
The West Seattle Tool Library offers an old-fashioned alternative to the smelly mess. We have two cider presses available to help you turn extra fruit into fresh cider. Cider can even be made from #2 apples, so don’t feel like you need perfect fruit for pressing.
Both cider presses operate along the same principles. First, whole fruit is placed in the grinder, where it is chewed into a pulp by metal teeth. Then, the pulp falls into the cage where a large wooden disc is placed on top and pressed against the fruit by a ratchet. The juice will flow out of the bottom of the press, as the ratchet is turned.
The cider press is a great activity for all ages. When we demonstrated the press at the West Seattle Farmers Market in October and November of 2010, we had kids as young as two helping to feed fruit into the macerator and helping run the macerator and the ratchet. Adult supervision is required to make sure fingers stay out of the macerator and the press while in use.
Some tips to make your next cider pressing party great:
-Line the cage with cheesecloth for easy filtering and cleaning.
-Use a fine-mesh colander to strain the juice a second time as it flows out of the press, to keep seeds and leaves out of the juice.
-Keep a bucket on hand for temporarily storing the spent pulp. The pulp comes out dry, making it a great chicken snack or addition to a compost pile.
-Let the juice flow into a large pot. Keep a funnel and empty bottles close by for easy pouring when the pot is full.
-Pasteurize your juice before consuming. Seattle and King County Public Health recommend boiling the juice for 45 seconds to kill off bacteria. Cool before serving.
The West Seattle Tool Library has a collection of over 1,300 tools currently available, is free to use and run primarily on user donations. Click on inventory to view our entire online inventory!
For more information on becoming a member, please visit our membership page.


Nancy Kladiven

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