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Rachel showing how to use a cider press.

Wondering how to use a cider press, put it together, and squeeze your very own fresh apple cider? You don’t know what you’re missing! In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of putting together the Squeeze Master Fruit Press, one of the best cider presses for home use. All those pieces look a little overwhelming, but it’s easier than you might think. Let’s get started!

Putting Together the Squeeze Master Fruit Press

Note: These instructions are for the Squeeze Master Fruit Press, which you can purchase here. Mine is 3.17 gal. But I assume this process is very similar for other fruit presses as well. 🍎

The white ceramic base of the fruit press.

To begin, set the base on a sturdy surface. It is quite heavy and will definitely leave deep scratches in your table if you’re not careful, so be sure to place it on a board or tray.

Center the barrel portion on the base. You want to put the flat edge down, leaving the beveled edges facing upward.

Mesh lining bag inside the cider press.

Next, put the nylon mesh bag into the barrel, tucking it neatly into the corners and stretching it over the top of the barrel.

Place a container under the spout – you’ll thank me later. 😉 Next, fill the barrel with crushed fruit. This same brand does sell a fruit crusher as well, but I’ve never used nor purchased one. I just use my food processor.

For apples, I wash the apples and then chop them into quarters, so they fit into the food processor. Don’t worry about removing the cores, peels, or even imperfections. (I do usually throw out any rotten or especially wormy apples. But otherwise, I’m not too picky!)

Once crushed, pack the fruit pulp into the bag with your hands, evenly distributing it across the bottom of the barrel. (Juice usually starts running out naturally – this is normal.) Continue until you’ve filled the barrel well, up to the start of the screw at least.

It’s important to note here that you have to pack enough fruit material into the barrel or you’ll have trouble getting enough weight down later. If you don’t pack it high enough, you won’t be able to push the screw low enough without hitting the top of the barrel.

How to Press Apple Cider with the Fruit Press

Round wooden pieces on top of the fruit pulp in the cider press.

Gently tuck in the top of the nylon bag. Place the two round pieces on top.

Putting the wooden blocks on top of the fruit press.

In the opposite direction, place the stack of wooden blocks – three on each side. (Only one is pictured here.)

Putting the plastic washer on the cider press.

Put on the final block and plastic washer.

Putting the screw on the cider press.

Finally, put on the screw and handle bar, so you can get the leverage needed to squeeze. Tighten gently until juice starts pouring out. Let it squeeze for a minute, then keep turning.

Continue until you start meeting a lot of resistance and it becomes harder to turn. You want to be careful here. You need enough pressure to squeeze out the rest of the juice, but you also don’t want to break your equipment. (Not that I ever have – just that I realize it would be possible, given its construction.) Use your best judgment here!

On the final turn, I usually let it sit for about 5 minutes or so, just to make sure the rest of the juice has been squeezed out. Once the juice stops running like it was before, gently remove the screw and take off the pieces one at a time. Lift out the bag of pulp. (It will be pressed hard into the barrel, so you may need to loosen it with your fingers or a spoon.) The pulp will be almost tacky and comparatively dry to what it was when you started.

As you can see from the picture, yes, this is a very messy activity. Prepare to have apple juice and pulp almost everywhere, haha.

How to Use a Cider Press FAQs

How to Clean Your Cider Press After You’ve Used It

I clean my cider press in hot, soapy water (though I don’t usually submerge the base). The mesh bag in particular can be harder to get clean, so just use plenty of water to rinse it well.

Dry the individual fruit press pieces immediately, then allow to air dry well before packing the cider press away for storage. To keep the metal screw pieces from rusting, coat them with a thin layer of vegetable oil as well.

How Much Cider Will You Get from One Pressing?

This varies so much depending on the fruit being pressed, the growing conditions that year, etc. I’ve noticed it varies depending on the type of apples I press as well, so you will just have to see what happens with your batch. 🙂

Do You Need a Press to Make Apple Cider?

Technically, you could make cider with one of the regular juicers. But…compared to what you can press using one of these, it will be a lot more strain on your juicer. Besides, with a fruit press like this one, you don’t even have to worry about coring the apples. I know if I tried to run whole apples through one of the older macerating juicers, it would strain the motor and get all caught up inside the wheels. Not so with a press!

How Long Does Fresh Pressed Cider Last?

In the fridge, I’d keep it up to a week or so personally, then freeze if I wanted to keep it longer. But it probably won’t last that long once your family tastes it anyway. 😉

What Apples are Best for Cider Pressing?

You can use about any apple you have on hand, though, of course, some will have a better flavor than others. I’ve pressed very sweet, juicy apples and ended up with a super sweet nectar of a juice! Other times, I’ve pressed tart apples that produce a sharply, deeply flavored juice. Try experimenting and mixing and matching to see what you like the best!

How to Can Apple Cider

Apple cider is one of the absolute easiest things I’ve ever canned. It is simply brought to a boil, then poured into hot jars, leaving ¼” headspace. It is processed in a boiling water bath canner for at least 5 minutes (depends on your elevation – see the chart here). Beyond easy! And in my experience, the jars seal very nicely too – I haven’t had many failures.

Take a peek here.

So what are you waiting for? Put that cider press together and make your own delicious apple cider at home!

Need More Ideas for Using Apples?

Learn how to dry apples here or make apple cake muffins here. 🙂

How to Use a Cider Press - Squeeze Master Fruit Press

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