Equipment - Milling
Essentially, apples and pears need to be ‘prepared’ before being pressed. This means that they need to be smashed into a pomace that can be pressed.
When you start out making cider, you probably don’t want to spend the kind of money that is required to obtain either a hand scratter or an electric mill. Even an old second hand mill will hold its price (just check ebay – if you can find one that is).
In response to this, there are a number of methods for scratting apples and pears that can be effective – depending on how much you want to make and how handy you are with building equipment. Here are a few alternatives to buying a mill.
For small quantities, this can be a cheap solution. The fruit will need to be chopped up a bit before hand, but it is as effective at turning apples into pomace. But (and it’s a biggy), it is very laborious and if you intend on making anything more than a few gallons, it can take quite a while to do.
- Make your own scratter
There have been a few people who have literally put the apples into a container (one that won’t break), and used a pole or block of wood to smash the apples to a pulp. Again it can be a laborious task, but is probably good exercise if nothing else. Going beyond this, others have created fully electric mills that are as effective as those costing hundreds of pounds. One such example, the Codling Grinder, has instructions available freely online -
Cidermakers are creative people – let us know of any ingenious methods you come up with!
- Vigo ‘Pulpmaster’
Another system designed for very small scale production, the Pulpmaster is simply attached to an electric drill and used inside a purpose made bucket. The obvious warning is to be careful with it (this actually goes for any method involving scratting), but is effective for small quantities.
- Larger bought mill/scratter
Once you get over a certain limit, you will want to make the process more efficient. This means spending some money. Use the links at the side of this page to connect to manufacturers of such equipment. Occasionally, this equipment may also come up for sale on the Google group, so do ask about it.
There are many types available, ranging from a hand turned scratter which mounts on a bucket to electric powered centrifugal mills (and beyond).
We are lucky enough to have our own supplier of electric fruit mills, which are imported from the Czeck Republic. The Vares Fruit Shark is used by several members of the group and can cope with many kg’s of apples. Follow the link to Vicky’s Fruit Shark page.
|Although there are several categories of apple mill (or crusher, or scratter), there are few companies who make them. We have listed the main agents below|
If you can recommend any others, please let us know.
When looking for an effective fruit mill, do enquire on the group as to what others use (and for what amount of fruit). A decent mill is quite an outlay, so do shop around!
Also, take a look at the Vares Fruitshark. A few people use these and the UK distributor is a member of the group.