When I was in high school, (back in New Hampshire), I had a friend whose family owned a cider mill. I used to help them wash the glass bottles before the cider season began, and once the apples were ready, we pressed the cider. There were three large orchards in the area, back then, so the supply of “drops”, (ripe apples that fell from the tree and were bruised, so unfit for sale as fruit), was big.
I can still remember the smell of the apples and cider. It was a great time of year. The cool, brisk, sunny days, (which my sister called Apple Days), when the trees were losing their leaves and rustling in the wind, were a reminder that winter was coming, but not yet.
Unless you have cold storage, apples don’t keep all that long. You can make applesauce, and can it, or you can dehydrate sliced apples, or maybe make apple cinnamon rings, or even pies or other pastries from the apples. You can even make apple butter. Or, you can take the damaged “drops” and press them into cider. From that cider you can make apple cider vinegar, useful in many ways, both for culinary and medicinal purposes.
The thing about a cider press is that you can press other fruits in it besides apples, to make your own juices from pears, cherries, raspberries or whatever fruit you have on your property. You could even press some vegetables. (Corn oil?)
I decided to check out the availability of cider presses online, and found many available, both manual and powered, capable of pressing small amounts to large amounts. I was most interested in the manual presses, as I want the availability of pressing should the power grid go down. Below are some links to presses I found. I don’t recommend any in particular, as I have no experience with them. I present them merely to show you places to start searching.
A cider press along with a Grinder, to chop up the apples. This one costs $499.
This press comes from Cabela’s and costs $254,99.
From Amazon.com. This press is $59.99