Ever since we have an orchard full of apple trees we wanted to make our own cider. Wouldn’t you be proud if you’d be able to bottle your own alcohol from your own fruits? And after all what is it about? Collecting the fruits, squeeze them, put them in a canister, wait and bottle – right? We found out the hard way that it is not that easy.
Here’s part 1:
the Preparation is KING. First you have to get the right apples. Best is to have a selection of apples from sweet to sour and even bitter varieties. By mxing different ones the taste is more likely to be successful. To sweet and the yeast will explode. To sour and the yeast will die overnight.
You can use ordinary apples from teh supermarket. They are clean, maybe even too clean. In any case you should wash the apples carefully. ‘Free range’ apples are covered with natural bacteria that will provide your cider with an unpredictable taste. It’s a bit of Russian Roulette to use natural bacteria. The solution is to wash the apples with lots water with some sulfite added. This will kill the natural stuff. You can of course always try to give Mother Nature a chance. Considering the amount of work it is to bottle your homemade Cider, you will try this only once. 🙂
The fruit you have to use should NOT be half rotten. This was original my idea of making cider. ‘The rotting process of the fruit would automatically start the fermentation’. Your fruit has to be spotless. After rinsing remove all scrappy bits and wooden stems.
After cleaning you have to crush the apples. You can do this the original way by smashing them in a slicer or with a wooden hammer in a container. Yet I used a juicer. Not the most charming way. You divide juice and cells and later you put them back together in the canister. Pretty useless action.
Then you add stuff to extract extra flavors from the cells and the skin of the apples that contain that sweet apple taste. For the best result you have to leave the smashed apples in the canister for a day or two. In this case stuff is best described as Pectin lyase, Pectolytic Enzyme and Citric acid.
The Pressing of the Apples is the DAME. but nothing sweet or royal about this part of the procedure. It’s damn tough. Since it’s my first time I thought i could handle it with my linen towel that was included in the starters kit. “Just put the pulp in and squeeze.” It took me three hours to distract seven litres of apple juice from ten litres of smashed apples. Next time I’m going for the real fruit press. But a starter has to start somewhere.
The story continues with Part 2 …
- Cider industry: facts and figures (telegraph.co.uk)
- A Lighter Holiday Cocktail: Mulled Cider With Calvados (fitsugar.com)