How to Use an Enterprise to Press Cider

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Wash the apples before you put them through the press.
Wash the apples before you put them through the press. (Image: Azza909/iStock/Getty Images)

The Enterprise fruit press was a massive, 50-pound cast-iron press produced by the Enterprise Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia in the late 19th century. Today they are valued antiques, but they were so sturdily made that many of them still work, as long as you have all the parts. This device could do everything from stuff sausage to press lard, so making apple cider with it is not much of a challenge.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple corer
  • Fruit chopper or large knife
  • Container

Wash and core the apples.

Run the apples through a fruit chopper, or chop them into small pieces with a knife.

Crank the plunger plate on the Enterprise all the way up. Loosen one of the retaining knobs on one side of the press, and swing the cranking mechanism away from the top of the cylinder.

Insert the mesh basket into the cylinder. If you have the original tin basket, place the basket in the cylinder and the straining base into the bottom of the cylinder.

Fill the basket with the chopped apples. Make sure none of the fruit extends over the edge of the cylinder.

Test to make sure the small plunger plate is attached to the screw mechanism. Change plates, if necessary, by unscrewing the cog on the underside of the plate, putting the smaller plate over the threaded end of the screw mechanism and re-tightening the cog.

Place the container under the spout. If the sausage pressing nozzle is attached to the spout, remove it.

Turn the crank clockwise to press the fruit. Continue pressing until you can no longer turn the crank. Watch for juice running out of the spout.

Tips & Warnings

  • While the cast-iron cylinder and crank mechanism on the Enterprise can last for centuries, you may be missing smaller parts, like the interior basket. Check online for replacement part vendors.
  • If your press is hard to crank, lubricate it with a thin coat of vegetable shortening or mineral oil.
  • The Enterprise is built with holes in its feet, so you can bolt it onto your work surface to keep it stable while you're cranking.
  • Keep fingers and clothes well away from the chain and gear assembly on the press.
  • If the plunger plate doesn't fit through the mesh basket, you've got the larger sausage-stuffing plate attached. Replace it with the smaller plate.
  • Make sure all parts of the press that come in contact with fruit are thoroughly cleaned before using it.
  • Do not use petroleum-based lubricants on the moving parts of the press because they can contaminate the juice.
  • Once the cranking mechanism has been restored and lubricated, do not wash it with soap. Wipe any food traces away with a damp cloth.
  • Refrigerate your cider immediately, and drink it within a day or two. Raw, unpasteurized cider can begin to ferment quickly, even in the refrigerator.

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