Clean lots of apples

I collect several bushels of apples of about a dozen varieties. I squeeze most for cider which I then make hard cider from. Those apples just get a rinse before processing. However, I still have several bushels of apples to use for other things including fresh eating. Most I give away. Almost all my apples have a dusty coating I assume is largely fungal. This stuff comes off fairly easily by a light scrub with a scotch brite pad under running water, but we’re talking bushels here. While the folks I give apples to are more than happy to clean their free fruit, I wonder if there might be a quicker, easier way to clean them.



There are actual fruit/veggie cleaners out there. I just about bought one a year ago… but didn’t as I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with my trees. A small one either electrical or gas powered will run about 3500.00 … My wife was all for it as she was the one cleaning all the apples especially for cider. We also sold apples cleaned or uncleaned… lots a work to clean them. We are talking over 200 trees worth.


I figured there were commercial cleaners, but I’m looking at 20-30 trees rather than hundreds. I’ll likely never sell my apples and will continue to press most of the production. What is the mechanism of the cleaners? Are there brushes involved of just pressurized water plus chemicals of some kind? Can you imagine a DYI design? My press was derived from a Harbor Freight ship press; I like to make things.

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Brushes, sponges and spray


Thanks, Bob. I have a collection of 55 gallon plastic barrels to play with. I’ll get together with my partner in cider squeezing, who also likes to “invent” and see if we can come up with a 10-20 bushel sized solution. I just spent maybe 10 minutes doing my scotch brite cleaning on 30 apples for drying then found I could only dry 18 at a time in my dehydrator. If I don’t clean these things the scuzz from the outside ends up on the peeled fruit.


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Yes ,I have used Apple cleaning machines like that. Under that hood the rollers have brushes on them and a water spray. Works good.
If I pick off the tree by hand there is nothing there I am worried about .
If I shake a tree for cider , I do it onto a clean tarp. …nothing there iam worried about. And I don’t wash any of these…
.its all good
I do not pick of of the ground. But if I did , I would process with heat.

My opinion on how people wash things, especially produce ,is that they are just spreading the bad stuff around . Not really making any thing cleaner, just spreading the bad… Itmay look better, but actually be worse.
This opinion comes from my micro biology training , in the past.
This is one major problem with our industrialized food system.
And why one bad bacteria , etc . On one piece of produce , can contaminate a whole factory,… recalls… 1000s of people sick.

Should add ,I do grade/ sort apples and cut out / throw away all bad spots.
In most cider operations I have seen years ago , "the rule of thumb "
Was:… if it had a rotten spot you could not cover up with your thumb, it was thrown out. …everything else went in. This depended on who was watching…

Bubble washers are easy to make, you could rig one up from some pipe and a shop vac to try out. Spraying with hydrogen peroxide first and letting them set for a while might help as well since it dissolves fungus.

Hey there BobC, Is that Ajax dish soap those apples are soaking in?

It very well could be… The guy that owns this equipment was Amish and offering to sell it to me.

I’m picturing a board, or a piece of metal depending on your level of expertise, that you would place the apples onto. The board would have a bottom “shelf” that was slightly angled downward in one direction. Of course you would need sides on your board to hold the apples on it, in one layer. You would then tilt the board from a laying down position to one of a slight angle, too much and the apples fall off, you just need enough of an angle for the water to run down and out. Get a high pressure spray hose and blast them from the top down. The only problem with the design is manually turning them over. You could collect water from the runoff in a bucket to use for watering birds and so forth. This is just the morning ramblings of a cheap feller.

@BobC Looks like a Honda GX340 Engine, if you had bought this machine you would be working on that baby, I know from experience what a pain it is.

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