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A friend lent me an old-fashioned cider press to use. I am planning to put a few dozen chopped up apples into it and then see how much juice I get, but I'm worried there won't be much. Would it help to sprinkle a little sugar onto the apples and let them sit for a while before pressing? I can't find much information on cider-making online (I'm just making juice, I'm not going to ferment it).

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Maceration is a traditional step in French and English cider production, whereby the pomace (post-crushing pulpy residue) is left to sit for up to a full day (2-4 hours probably suffices). This allows beneficial enzyme action, and the exposure to oxygen should help reduce bitterness and astringency.

I'm not sure what adding sugar would do besides increasing the costs and complexity; are the apples not sweet enough already?

Reference: "The New Cider Maker's Handbook" by Claude Jolicoeur.

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    When I said "maceration" I meant sprinkling with sugar to draw water out (like what people do with strawberries). I didn't know it had another meaning. Should I just soak the crushed apples in plain water? – user52037 Dec 12 '16 at 18:43
  • Additional water would dilute the already watery and sugar-rich pomace, and likely complicate things in some other direction. Mash up apples, let sit, sqeeze. – thrig Dec 12 '16 at 19:14
  • Should the apple mash be refrigerated or left at room temperature? – user52037 Dec 13 '16 at 0:38
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    Dunno, I don't run a refrigerator. From mead/other fermentation I'd guess that cooler temperatures would be advisable--unheated room or shed or basement, but probably not anything too cold that would slow down the necessary chemical reactions. – thrig Dec 13 '16 at 0:53
  • No to refrigeration. You hold the pulp to allow the cells to release more juice (among other reasons) so slowing that process is counter productive. Grinding the apples into a pulp both puts the apples into more manageable pieces, but also bruised the sells to kick start this process. Apples from the store will produce less typically due to farming and storage process, but average cider production runs 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per bushel with a good press. Less as you get the hang of it. Don't add water, heat, or sugar unless you want juice, not old fashion cider. – dlb Dec 13 '16 at 17:29

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