How I built a fruit press for $35.
After making 13 different kinds of jams and/or jellies (including sumac and garden huckleberry) I usually have enough fruit to make wine. Due to some oopses some got contaminated and turned into wonderful vinegar, but that's another story!
Most of these fruits are heated with a small amount of water prior to extracting the juice. (I would like a plan for an easy to build fruit shredder/crusher) but with a large quantity it takes forever for the juice to drip out (like in jelly making). (Ed. note: See 78/6:58 for crusher plans.)
The adjacent pictures show a very simple fruit juice press. The sides and bottom are standard 2 x 12s. The front and back are 3/4[inches] exterior plywood. Everything is either bolted together, or uses lag screws.
The top bar was at first lag screwed into the top of the sides but they pulled out the first time a tire jack was used to press the fruit. Simply bolt shelf angle irons into position. The interior dimension is the standard width of the 2 x 12 (i.e. approximately 11-1/2 inches). As a result that makes the sides of 3/4[inches] plywood 12[inches] wide by 15[inches] long. (Simply buy a 3/4[inches] x 12[inches] by either 3[feet] or 4[feet] shelf from the lumberyard.)
The legs are 2 x 4s cut at 45 degree angles. After assembling the legs and box, drill 3 or 4 holes in the bottom. Then make a channel out of wood strips to hold the funnel (simply a plastic oil changing funnel purchased from a local store) that has a lip or edge.
Not shown is a rack, made out of 3/4[inches] x 3/4[inches] stock, and nailed together as a grid. Place this on the bottom of the box to prevent your bag of fruit from clogging the holes.
I was told that it was better to seal all the parts exposed to juice with paraffin. After processing a batch it is very simple to hose the entire press for cleaning.
The heated fruit is poured into an old pillowcase hung inside the press. Tie or fold the opening closed. Then on top place a block of wood just slightly smaller than the inside of the box itself. Place your car jack in place and pump away.
Total cost, fall 1994, $35.00. Includes all wood, angle iron, lag bolts, carriage bolts and funnel. The hydraulic tire jack was given to me, but they are easy to find if you ask around.
Tools used: 15[inches] crosscut (hand) saw, electric drill and bits; socket wrenches for nuts and bolts; hammer.
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water until internal temperature is 155 degrees. Cool in cold water and allow them to "bloom" overnight in the refrigerator.
To serve, bake, fry, grill, add to casseroles or serve cold.
Since this is a "fresh" sausage made without a "cure", shelf life is limited, so store in the freezer.