How to Build a DIY Fruit Press

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by Dennis Barnes
Our frame is made from rot-proofed pressure-treated (PT) lumber, so it should last forever with an occasional dose of deck preservative.

Build a DIY fruit press and make yourself some pocket money with one of the most beautiful and versatile tools you ever made. (See fruit press photos and diagrams by clicking through the images at the top of this page.)

How to Build a DIY Fruit Press

Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of the crisp, sunny fall weekends we all spent out at the family homeplace when my farming great-uncle We’d “fahr up the cider press,” as he put it. My cousins and I would drink as much fresh foaming cider as we could while taking turns cranking the crusher wheel.

So, when I bought my first farmstead back in the late sixties, one of the first tools of old-time country living I went looking for was a fruit-juice/wine/cider press. I envisioned the dirt-floored cold-storage cellar filled with bottles of wine made from pear juice mixed with the wild fox grapes that grow rampant in our woods and jugs of half-hard cider from the old apple and cherry trees growing up on the hill. The first trees I planted were cold-tolerant peaches, and I looked forward to pressing out peach nectar as well.

I learned quickly that it was a rare year that plentiful rain (for plump fruit) during the ripening season, and breezy, dry air (that discourages molds) combined to produce great festoons of plump, sweet wild grapes . . . and when it did, the fruit developed so high in the trees it was inaccessible to anyone but the birds. Most years, grape clusters were small, most fruit was mold-shriveled to mummies and the surviving grapes were small, hard and sour. In any year and any weather, the overgrown apple and pear trees produced fruit that was scarce, gnarly and worm-eaten.

  • Published on Oct 1, 1996
Tagged with: apple cider, fruit press, press
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