Cider Paradigm Shift



According to Wizbang

He says the Insinkerator model 80s (which is no longer made) works well. For newer models, supposedly the 3/4 hp Badger model 15ss is built like the old Insinkerator model. Also the Kenmore 3/4hp disposal part no 60572 is supposed to be built like the Badger 15ss.

As an aside I’m not sure it’s necessary to buy the books from Wizbang. Building an apple grinder out of a disposal was discussed extensively on the old fruit forum. Don Yellman (Jellyman on the old fruit forum) was the first (that I know of) to come forth with this idea (first discussed on an older forum called Nafex). I recall he was really pissed someone took his idea (that he freely shared) and put it in a book to sell for money, without giving him any credit for it.

From past discussions, the big problem with disposal grinders was that they would overheat and kick out if used continuously. Another problem that some people complained of is that they would grind apples a bit too fine, so that that apple juice was cloudy. Some purchased grinders (not the disposal type) would grind apples a bit coarser so that the juice was clearer. Also the consensus was that purchased apple hand grinders didn’t work very good at all.



Thank you for the info. I found some of the old postings and it looks like that model is not 100% stainless, but they indicated some are 100% stainless. I’m trying to understand why they take the unit apart in the directions above.


I have been using a 1hp Insinkerator 777ss for about 10 years now. It looks like they don’t make it anymore. It was $80 at Lowes, but I bet it would be double or more now. My biggest concern was possible overheating on long runs, which it probably was not designed for. I grind about 2 bushels at a time and I have never had problem so far. That yields about 5 gallons of cider. I do 30-70 gallons per year spread over a couple months. It’s easy to clean. Flush out buildup with water while still running. Then hold hand over outlet and fill with water while it is running. Let it drain out after a couple seconds and repeat few times. The grind is perfect for nylon mesh materials. After rinsing off with hose, I wash nylons in washer machine. The disposer and nylons where the only materials I bought specifically for pressing apples. It was worth the investment.



Thats a lot of cider! Is that all hard cider? If so, do you have a good method for storing the cider rather than putting it in a bottle?


[quote=“scottfsmith, post:28, topic:2804”]
AJ, most times the cider will ferment perfectly fine with no added yeast. I know, I have done it many times and never had a batch go bad. … To increase your odds, set up an airlock.
[/quote]That is what I do, except my goes vinegar after re-exposing to air. The time varies from batch to batch. Usually, other people tell me it taste like vinegar before I taste it. Eventually it will get enough acetic acid that even I don’t want to drink it. Rather than waste it, I use it to make a proper cider vinegar. No real loss.

I suppose I could reduce the problem by bottling in smaller containers that I can use up in one serving. Using large containers will have growing headspace that is constantly re-oxygenated each time the container is opened. However, I still want to try killing the bacteria with campden tablets.


[quote=“blueberrythrill, post:44, topic:2804”]
Thats a lot of cider! Is that all hard cider? If so, do you have a good method for storing the cider rather than putting it in a bottle?
[/quote]No, most of it is used as fresh cider for family and friends. Fresh cider can be frozen in the freezer in plastic jugs if you leave a little extra space for expansion. It will taste bland after thawing. Flavor can be revived by shaking a few times over a day or two. After standing for at least 24 hours, it will taste the same as the day it went into the freezer. I’ve even frozen cider twice with no ill effects on flavor. I did noticed that cider frozen twice will not ferment from natural yeast, so 2 freeze cycles must kill the yeast. Sorry, I don’t have good tips on storing hard cider, but I bet it would be best to bottle it in smaller bottles or canning jars.


I can’t imagine using valuable freezer space for apple juice. I have a large chest freezer and an upright packed to the gills with higher priority apricot sauces, blueberries, sliced nectarines, plum purees and so forth. I can store cider apples through winter in a root cellar anyway and juice as needed.

I guess I’m not that crazy about sweet cider. Throw in some black currants, blend it and pour it through a strainer and you have something I might value enough to freeze.


blueberry -
My cider partner Ben got the disposal, it was an Insinkerator but I don’t think it was all stainless. In my recollection, it was the cheapest model or close to it.

The disposal works pretty well (with the exception of overheating when used in continuous duty mode, as mentioned in other places), but it is rather loud.

The orchards around here that do cider demos usually use a hand crank grinder and basket press. Not the best yield or throughput, but it does work and looks cool. Barring finding a functional antique locally or building something yourself, something like this seems to be the starting point:

A double basket one will significantly increase throughput if you have a couple people to help out:

If you rig up a shop hydraulic press for the squeezing, the hand grinder by itself is pretty reasonable:

Wouldn’t be hard to hook up a motor to it if you had a mind to do that. But you will get a lot higher yield from disposal ground apples.

One of the local orchards we buy from (2 bins of seconds this year), got in a unit like the two basket model linked above. The owner has it sitting out and lets PYO people use it if they agree to clean it afterwards. This provides a neat demo for the other patrons, and also you can use up a whole lot more apples by turning them into cider than you can eating them whole out of the fridge.

I don’t think a grape press will exert enough pressure to get decent yield on apples, though it may do something useful with disposal ground apples.


I personally don’t mind cloudy cider, either sweet or hard. I do find that by the time I drink it, the hard cider has clarified to a great degree most years. It has been through two stages of fermentation in carboys and spent some time in a stainless tank. Lastly it goes in a 2L bottle for carbonation and serving from the fridge. The last few weeks it spends in the cold of the fridge tend to drop some sediment if it hasn’t gone out by up to a year of sitting around in my cellar. Brewers that want crystal clear cider would get a plate filter and pump, available at home brew stores or online. Seems like unnecessary work to me though. I don’t remember if it was especially cloudy the year we used the disposal.



Very useful information. Sounds like you are a very serious about cider. Two bins is lot of apples to process. Are you thinking about some type of commercial cider business?


Well, I think it is fair to say I am more enthusiastic about cider than the average person!

The quantities have been creeping up year to year as our equipment got better and we had more free labor. But I think we maxed out our current capabilities for a one day event this year with 5-6 bins total apples.

We don’t sell anything; lots of people come to help out and take home as much sweet cider in old juice bottles as they want, plus some hard cider from the previous year. My cider partner and myself take care of fermenting about half the cider, which provides us with some to give away the next year, some to take to parties, share with dinner guests, and for me to drink a glass just about every night of the year.


Good for you. Nice work.


Bet you have a lot of friends. :grinning:


I used to make some fabulous cider from my own small former orchard. The closest cider I’ve found so far that I can purchase is Foggy Ridge (Va) “Serious Cider.” Won a nationwide contest, the real deal. Bone dry! If you like an austere Riesling you may like this.

Piedmont region of Va is a magical place for apples. The Sheldon family is doing amazing work with their orchard. I believe they have a big block of the once extinct Harrison (NJ) cider apple


Been to several seminars there. I’m impressed by their knowledge, helpfulness, and dedication but not crazy about their cider. Just too much carbonation for my taste, but a lot of folks love it.

My wife is from that area, which really is good apple country. Lots of apple history there including Albemarle Pippin and Ralls Genet. From what I understand, people in this area once thought that Albemarle Pippin was a unique apple originating from North Garden, Virginia. Later it was determined that Albemarle Pippin was actually the same apple as Newtown Pippin from NY. Two of the largest apple growers in the US are located not too far away in the Shenandoah Valley


Scott- How about Millstone Cider- aren’t they up near you, making traditional farmhouse style cider? I see a lot of top restaurants starting to carry their line.


Put it side by side with a French or Spanish cider and it will seem thin and one-dimensional. This goes for all the American ciders I have tasted, I am not just picking on Millstone.


Very interesting. Maybe the French and Spanish didn’t bulldoze their heirloom cider orchards (loaded with complex tastes) like we did during Prohibition and later for housing developments. In a another decade or two we should have a lot more heirloom cider orchards producing well. I read that many cideries are now forced to use dessert apples for lack of proper cider apples.


Yes, I am optimistic we will have great cider eventually, but its going to be a longer road than I thought it would be ten years ago. Along with good apples we need to work on keeving, natural yeasts, etc. Or, find some other way to make a great cider.


When I used to make cider from my unsprayed apples I simply relied on the unadulterated organic fruit to supply natural sugar and yeast. Nothing added, fermented all the way to bone dryness. This method definitely produced vintage years and an occasional so-so year, which added suspense to the process. In vintage years it was the best drink I’d ever had in my life, and reminded me a bit of champagne without carbonation.

I’d usually let one barrel turn to vinegar, saving “mother” year to year. Fabulous vinegar, you could almost drink it straight.