[NAFEX] Removing berry seeds

Jim Fruth jfruth at tds.net
Sat Nov 22 11:16:30 EST 2008

Mark Angermayer asked, "Is there a better way to separate the seeds from the 
pulp than a
strainer/food mill?"

    I suppose you'd like me to divulge a trade secret, huh?

    Here's how we do it at Brambleberry Farm:  Make something resembling a 
pillowcase, but smaller.  Make it to fit your cider press basket so it is 
close to a tight fit but a tad bit looser with extra height so it can be 
folded over when the basket is filled.  Heat (with water to cover) your 
berries to the boiling point or until they smash very easily.  If your cider 
press bed has a painted finish, you'll want a piece of metal under your 
basket or the hot mixture will lift/destroy the finish.  It is best to have 
a stainless steel or aluminum liner in your cider press bed.  Or, at the 
very least, let your mixture cool down to 150 F, or lower before pressing.
    After you've poured the mixture into your cloth-lined basket, fold the 
extra cloth over on top.  If your plunger doesn't fit tightly against the 
wall of the basket, hold a wash cloth around it as you insert it into the 
basket.  Then start turning your screw.  Do it slowly!!!  If you press too 
fast and your bag isn't sturdy enough, the contents will make a slit and 
blow out the side.  If your bag is strong enough and you turn too fast, 
you'll have juice squirting in all directions.  Press in intervals allowing 
juice to drain between squeezings and repeat until the amount of juice you 
get isn't worth your time to tighten again.
    I've got a board that fits almost snugly over a pail to catch the seeds 
and it has a hole in it that is the same size as the inside of the basket. 
After pressing, transfer the basket to the seed catcher, remove the plunger 
and push the seeds-inside-the-bag into the pail.  Depending upon how tightly 
you've squeezed, you may have to use force to remove the bag.  Then turn 
your bag inside out to remove the last vestiges of seeds.  If the seeds come 
out easily and the bag is relatively clean, you did it right.  If alot of 
the seeds and skins cling tightly to the bag, your mixture was too hot when 
you pressed it and you'll have to use a brush to clean the inside of the 
    While your juice is still warm, proceed to make your jelly.  If you let 
it cool to room temperature or lower to make your jelly later, you'll lose 
some flavor.  BE WARNED: When you remove the seeds from berries you may 
change the flavor.  I have removed seeds from red raspberries and the 
resulting jelly flavor was unrecognizable.
    Before we settled on the above method, we tried many methods.  The 
Victorio Food Strainer was efficient but slow when compared to the above 
described method.  Using a Foley Food Mill for deseeding berries was an 
exercise in frustration.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN  56472
For jams, jellies & syrups:
(877)265-6856 [Store]
(218)831-7018 [My Cell]

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