These small presses and manual scratters

Discussions of interest about making wine, cider and other fermented beverages

These small presses and manual scratters

Postby MrBoy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:59

We've had access to a heritage orchard this year (dating back to 1800s or even earlier) and got in just in time to get 70+Kg of old-variety apples. HAve always wanted to get into cider but this is the first time we've had the apples in sensible quantity to make a press worthwhile especially as we think we can have access in future years and are growing our own trees.

I understand that scratting is really important especially with manual presses - see below. I do have access to rent a professional setup but £60 a day and I only have enough apples for one press in their kit. For that price I can buy a manual press - but not a scratter.

Are these manual scratters worth the £100 or could I make one? I've seen people use waste disposal systems and garden mulchers and franky it seems it shouldn't be that hard to get something tough enough to chop apples.

That said, I've wondered why you can't just put apples in a sack and jump on them (or get a hammer) to smash them effectively.
Any advice at this kind of scale? I understand I'm on for 35-50L of juice so a couple of barrels of cider... we could've had 10X as many apples but I don't have the need for 200L cider :)

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Re: These small presses and manual scratters

Postby INDIAPALEALE » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:07

Here in France they use a type of scratter to make both wine and cider. The scratter is mounted on top of a barrel and the grapes/apples are fed in. The grape juice is filtered out into the fermenter whereas the apples are not filtered but fermented with the juice and apple fragments mixed together and fltered after fermentation. In the case of white wine made from red grapes the grapes are pressed rather than scratted to prevent the skins colouring the wine. And to make Rose wine the juice is filtered after a certain time so that the wine is pink rather than red

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Re: These small presses and manual scratters

Postby Crastney » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:55

I made my own scratter - it's easy enough if you have moderate DIY skills, and the right tools, etc.
I used a frame/hopper made from old bits of wood lying around (cupboard drawer faces, sides etc.), the mincer bit was just a large block of wood that I turned down to a cylinder, and then screwed galvanized screws into, at an appropriate angle, and space.

you just need to break the apples into small enough pieces that they release the juice from the cells. There's a website somewhere where a guy tries to press whole apples, and they don't break down, and then apples in half, quarters etc. he only starts getting a decent amount of juice once the apples are pulverised. but having said that, too mushy, and you start to get issues.

it is perfectly possible to use a clean sterilised bucket and a (big) lump of timber, to smash the apples up to the required degree.

the mash should start to release it's own juice whilst it's in your container, before you start to apply pressure, that's when you know you've bashed it enough to break the cell walls, and release the liquid juice.

scratter01.jpg (76.37 KiB) Viewed 1570 times

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Re: These small presses and manual scratters

Postby sledgehammer » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:29

when i assisted my neighbours to press there apples we used some borrowed equipment
to scrat the apples we used a petrol driven garden shredder (im sure a electric one would be just as good) we tryed putting the apples through once and got good results but then we put them through twice and got even better results we ended up with just over 20 gallons of apple juice 5 was pasturised and bottled and the rest was fermented into cider :-)

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