When Sparklebright worked at a winery, she got to press fresh orchard apples into wonderful cider. The big press ground the apples before pressing the juice out of pulp (pomace). Is it possible to grind and press apples at home to make cider?
You could certainly get a home apple press like the ones from Happy Valley Ranch, GH1618 says. If you're not ready to commit to owning a home press, it's usually possible to rent a combination mill and press from homebrewing stores, kaleokahu says. Since home presses don't exert as much pressure as those big industrial ones, "you might consider an overnight soak of your pomace with a solid dose of pectic enzymes to extract more sweet cider," says kaleokahu, who also adds about 10 percent crabapples for extra tannins.
The natural yeast on the skin of the apples will quickly turn sweet juice to bubbly, fermented hard cider, though flash pasteurizing can slow down the process. kaleokahu calls that "probably the single largest epiphany of humankind."
Discuss: I Want to Make Apple Cider
Photograph of mulled cider by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com