I just bought a ratcheting #25, five gallon basket press. I was intending to use it to make cider but thought I could also put it to other uses around the bar. The main bar problem I’ve been wanting to find a solution to is creating large volumes of clear pineapple juices to offer at brunch instead of orange juice. The fresh, tart juice can be incredibly refreshing.
To test things, I bought eight pineapples for a dollar a piece at Hay Market. I peeled the skins in about a minute and tossed them into the press after a simple dicing.
The press has a ratcheting mechanism so you don’t need to be able to move around it 360 degrees for use. You can easily put it on a bench top but I do recommend bolting it down. I was lucky that I could drill bolt holes into my bench top otherwise you could mount it on some plywood then clamp that to the bench top.
Pineapples are loaded with juice so eight yielded an entire gallon of really clear juice in just a few productive minutes with the ratchet.
Reloading the press is pretty easy. Ratchet backward, take off the ratchet lever, then unscrew to the top with a 360 degree motion using your hands. you can then simply release the slats and pull off the press cake. You could make multiple gallons of juice in about a half hour. Cleaning to be honest is a bitch. You need to loosen the bolts on every slat to get all the fibrous junk in between but with the right socket wrench it really just takes five minutes.
Pressing is a really good option for pineapples because any grinding whips huge amounts of air into the juice and they get really frothy. Also, no affordable centrifuging juicers can put out the same volumes as the press.
Now that brunch is over and you didn’t quite sell all the juice you can give the rest the “ice wine” treatment to make a decadent (but not obnoxiously decadent) syrup. Freeze concentrate only 50% of your juice to increase its extract and marry it back to the rest then use your refractometer to hit 40 brix.
The resulting syrup is a killer foil for lime juice
1.5 oz. gin
.5 oz. kirshwasser
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. “ice wine” pineapple syrup
2 dashes angostura bitters
My next project is to press apples and concentrate the juice into a syrup I can fortifying with Laird’s apple brandy to make Feux Pommeau. [I eventually made the feax pommeau but the aroma was sort of ordinary. I think I had boring apples.]