Friday, September 23, 2011

Homemade Apple Juice a Washing Machine!!

 We are very lucky, or blessed, in many ways, as some of you already know, but one particular way happens to be that we live in the heart of 'apple tree central'. Seriously. There are so many overgrown apple orchards that a short walk down the road can easily warrant you a good cold sore! It's so disheartening to watch so many apples fall, that we always scramble to harvest and process as many as possible this time of year. One of the things we've always wanted to do was press apple juice out of the soft windfalls, but with our big family we knew we'd need a quick method, otherwise it would be consumed as fast as it was produced. Unfortunately, in the last few years, our attempts have ended up being too much work and mess and, as we stood by and scratched our heads, the season would quickly pass us by...


Not this year! 

Yay! :o)

Thanks to another brainy, big brother homesteading invention, we've been enjoying tons of deeelicious fresh apple juice for little effort!


All you need is an ordinary clothes washing machine (that's been thoroughly cleaned) and two grouchy, un-photogenic people to stand there and stare at it. (Haha, just kidding, the washing machine will do the job fine without being scrutinized by two grouches. Honestly--we were having fun! lol!) :o)

Anyway, after you sneak out your wife's/Mom's washing machine to the back yard (good luck with that!), then you need to go get a whole bunch of apples! If you want around 50 gallons of juice, better get a whole pickup truck load... or two!

...Can be squishy, have bird pecks and bad spots, even large bruises, just so long as you have the approval of a two year old and her doll, then you're good to start! ;)

So, the basic idea is you bolt a poky (nails sticking up) round board to the bottom of the basket and attach a shute (PVC pipe) to just an inch or so above it.

Then you run the machine on the spin cycle and when it's going fast, you drop apples into the shute as many as you can.

The pressure apple mass in the spinning basket throws the juice out, which you can see hitting the sides from the open back of the machine (like we were in the first picture).

When there's a few inches of juice in the bottom of the machine, the pump will turn on and suck the juice out out the hose, which Andrew had clamped on a clean five gallon bucket.
Sooo much fun to watch all that yummy juice pourin' out!

After a huge bushel of apples and a full spin cycle, you have to take out the PVC shute and shovel the pulp out of the basket.

The animals enjoy the pulp, so nothing goes to waste...

While we enjoy all this!

[CLICK HERE to see a video of this process!]

We boiled 20 gallons down into just a few to use as a concentrate later in the year. Several gallons went down into the root cellar but we're drinking so much I wonder how long it will stay around! 

Everybody is begging to make more, just because it's so much fun, but Mom wants us to put our efforts into getting the garden put to sleep, for the winter is quickly approaching!

...On a different note, I just finished knitting up Snow White and her 7 emotive friends. They turned out really scrumptious and I just listed them the TOY Barn, so check em out!
...Now to keep em away from Donna! lol! :)

Okay. Later Gators! ;)


  1. Very ingenious! Happy Birthday to my sisterdear!! Mar

  2. What an amazing invention, and what bright minds that came up with it. I am sure mothers will be guarding their washing machines well, especially if anyone has peeked at your blog. What fun you all must have..I passed some orange trees that had fruit on the ground today, so sad, do you think it would work with oranges too??
    Thank you for your wonderful blog,from Nell a new follower and mum of 6 from Australia.

  3. So when are you going for the patant on this amazing invention?
    Awesome job!

  4. Theresa, I should have mentioned that the idea wasn't ours--Andrew read about it in a backwoods home article.... I probably should have mentioned that! Don't want to get all big headed! ;)


  5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are adorable!

  6. Fantastic idea with apples!

    I love your Snow White and seven dwarfs, some little wee child is going to be very happy :)

    You are all so very clever...

  7. Well done on the great apple juice maker, so clever.
    Dayla from Australia

  8. I'll bet that's a whole heap of fun! Love Snow white too, she's adorable.

  9. Homemade apple juice is way better then store brought apple juice. Trust me the work is well worth it.

  10. Are you canning or freezing the juice? Or making hard cider?

    1. Mostly drink fresh, though we did freeze a few gallons and had the will power to put a few gallons aside to ferment into hard cider. It was delicious by Christmas!

  11. impressive and it looks like so much fun

  12. Are you still using the press? If so, any new improvements? If not why not?

    1. The computer circuit board actually died on the original washing machine last year. We got a "new" old machine that doesn't spin quite as fast, but actually works better with basic manual controls and no computer to get in the way. No major improvements.. We made the feed tube easier to remove, so no need to be doing screws all the time.

    2. Thanks Andrew, I looked at my machine and it didn't appear that my agitator was removable despite my many efforts. Perhaps certain brands don't work so well? What were the brands and models of the ones you used successfully? How many "loads" of apples have you done? Is cleaning it out a pain?

  13. Just wanted to bump my early comment in hopes you'll get alerted to my earlier questions. Again thanks.

    1. Sorry, I must have missed your followup comment. I'm no expert, so it may be very possible that some machines aren't as ideal. Sometimes this kind of disassembly is less than intuitive, so you may want to try a different machine or find someone handy to make the conversion for you.

      Our first machine was a kenmore, not sure of the new one.. We made over 200 gallons of juice with the first machine, and about a hundred this last fall with our new one. Thorough cleaning is a bit of a pain, but just removing the bulk of the pomace between loads only takes a couple minutes with a scoop.

    2. Thanks Andrew, a neighbor was throwing out a working machine. So I'll give it a try and keep you updated.

      -Fred (AKA Anonymous)

  14. How did you build the grinding board? what kind of wood is it/ what did you cut it with?

    1. It's just spruce.. The nails are stainless steel; that's important so they don't rust or flake zinc into the cider if they're galvanized. I just cut the wood with a jigsaw.


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