Apple Press — Big Squeeze — Sun 19 April — 1 pm
Come and see the home-made apple press at Thirkettles. Bring your own apples to squeeze and take away a share of the juice in your own containers! One pressing does up to 70 kg of apples (about 50 litres of juice) and takes an hour including clean-up. If you are bringing more than about 5 kg of apples, let one of the committee know in case we have to do two pressings. Venue: park off-road at the nursery carpark in Paton Rd, Hope (Thirkettle Nursery sign at the gate).
There will be hot water for drinks and a sales table (auction). The day will go ahead wet or fine.
John says: “We have access to orchard apples at the end of the season as well as our own apples and our son is also into cider making. In earlier years we had taken fruit to Robinson’s who processed the juice for us, but at about $2.60 a litre (back then) – the cost was high. So the search began for a cheap and efficient press. Our son bought a drum type small press for John’s 60th birthday present, but we found it was too small and inefficient – or perhaps we are just too impatient! Hence the reason for looking for something better. The design of our press and scratter (with some modifications) have come from a former Tree Cropper – Brian S. One of the bottlenecks with juicing is preparing the fruit so maximum juice can be extracted. The scratter made from an old industrial sewing machine means we can munch up the fruit in record breaking time. In one pressing we can extract up to 50 litres of juice (depending on varieties – on average we manage to extract 65-70%) – again we are impatient and could probably squeeze a bit more out. The efficiency is helped by having layers of slats so the juice moves horizontally.
“The material costs were cheap using recycled materials, with the jacks at $30 each being the most expensive component. We are fortunate to have a friend who donated rimu offcuts which were cut into slats. The slats can be made with non-treated timber that is reasonably strong and non-tainting. All the wooden parts that come in contact with the juice have been coated with a food safe material. The jacks sit underneath the framework rather than on top, eliminating any problems with contamination from oil leaks and also keeps the pressing structure more stable.”
Jackie says: “If people don’t want the juice to oxidise too much, we can add ascorbic acid (we are using this ourselves this season). The sweeter the fruit, the sweeter the juice! As the fruit will be mixed, it might be quite interesting! We have some feijoa juice in the freezer which we could add if anyone wanted apple & feijoa.”