I've just made a batch of cider from 16kg (35 lbs) of apples. Based on various sources (example), I expected to extract about 8L (1.75 gal) of juice - however, I only managed to get about 4.5L (1 gal), which I feel is too little trade off for the cost of the apples, nevermind the time and effort.

My method: I first chopped the apples into quarters using a kitchen knife, then ran them through a fruit mill to create a pulp. The pulp was then pressed using a press (both the mill and press are similar to the ones depicted here - apologies for the link to a commercial site but I don't have pictures readily at hand).

One thing to note: I thought the flesh of the apples seemed a little drier than some juicy eating apples I've had before. I'm wondering how much a role the type of apple play in the conversion ratio. The apples I got were a mix of "seconds" from a local orchard, mostly eating apples that were discarded due to cosmetic issues.

What can I do to get more juice out of the apples? I'm open to all suggestions but have a preference for non-electric means. I'm aiming to get closer to the 2/1 (kg/l) ratio that seems to be achievable using standard methods.

  • 2
    Try adding pectinase, an enzyme that breaks down cell walls for higher yield. – Robert Nov 5 at 14:05
  • Thanks @Robert. Is it possible to elaborate? I struggle to find information on how pectinase helps before pressing, how to use it and what type of improved yield this would help achieve. – firtydank Nov 5 at 15:13

You can add pectinase (also called pectic enzyme) to your crushed fruit / to your must to increase juice yield. You can find it at your local wine making / home brewing store or online, e.g., on amazon.

Pectinase is an enzyme that breaks down the pectin in the walls in fruit. It's frequently used in (fruit) wine making. Think of it as the opposite of adding pectin in jam making: you do want the jam to gel, but for wine making you want as much liquid as possible, and no gelling.

You need about half a teaspoon per gallon (3.8 liters) of must. Stir the pectinase in the must before fermentation and let it sit for a few hours.

As a side effect, it can also reduce haze.

See this Winemaker's academy article or this article in the wine maker's magazine.

  • +1, looks like something to look into. However, I am hesitant in marking this as accepted for two reasons. Firstly, I'm not sure how practical this is in a homebrew situation - how do you mix the pectinase liquid into a bucket with 16kg of crushed apples, and ensure that it distributes evenly? The crushed apples are still fairly solid and I'm not sure the mix will distribute naturally as in a liquid. Maybe someone with experience in this could add some advice? And how long do you need to leave it to do its job, and how will it affect the product? – firtydank Nov 6 at 7:06
  • Secondly, even if I manage to find a way to mix it in properly, I'm not sure how much extra yield I could expect. If this increases my current yield by 10%, it still leaves me with only 5L of juice when may aim is 8L. Please don't take these as criticisms - I appreciate the tip, I'm just not entirely convinced this is the only trick I'm missing. – firtydank Nov 6 at 7:10

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