Making apple cider is
one of fall's pleasures when you have a crop of
apples that you don't know what to do with.
Let's face it, you can
so many apples, make so many apple pies, jars of apple butter and eat
many fresh apples.
You have the choice
then of making either fresh
apple juice or cider, or both, depending on your taste.
It does matter which
variety of apples you use for apple
cider making, and the
trick is to try
and use both sweet and sour
varieties to get the right balance and taste.
As a result,
use about 10% volume of
to add the right amount of tart to
their sweet eating apples. There are some varieties such as
the Golden Russet
is also known as a cider apple as it
makes excellent cider, but you can use any other varieties just as
One of the best heirloom varieties is the Red Streak apple.
This is an English heirloom apple from Herefordshire that makes an
excellent apple cider, and was considered, in times past, to be the
apple to grow for this purpose. Unfortunately, over time, it was
replaced by other, newer varieties, and there are very few of these
apple trees left, although you can still find them in a few nurseries.
What Apples can you use for Apple Cider?
This is a table showing very old heirloom apples that were used in
apple cider generations ago. Some of these varieties are still
available today. You really just have to find yourself a good nursery
that specializes in heirloom fruit.
Acid - Sub Acid
Sub-Acid to Mild
Aromatic - Spicy
Apple Varieties and Wild Seedling varieties
A good cider can be made either by pressing the sub-acid to mild or aromatic - spicy apples
on their own, or by blending these two classes together.
You cannot make good cider by pressing either the sub-acid to mild
apples or the astringent apples on their own. However, by adding 5% of the astringent apples to
either the sub-acid to mild apples or the aromatic - spicy apples
you will come up with another good apple cider blend.
None of the apples in the neutral category will make good apple cider
on their own, however, if they are mixed with the category 1 apples making up 25% of the total,
then you will have a pleasantly tart cider.
Those apples in the astringent category are the apples that you
absolutely need in your cider to give it the taste you are after. These
are all high in tannin and flavor, but crab apples should be used wisely
and in small quantities so as to end up with the right
balance to your apple cider.
of your Apples affects the Quality of your Cider
You will find that many people will make apple
cider from windfall
apples. However, the quality of your apples definitely affects your
final product. Ideally, the apples will be:
ripe, as these have
the higher concentrations of sugar in them needed for fermentation.
They will also be more flavorsome and have a great smell.
rotten, or partially rotten. Using rotten fruit will add bad bacteria
and molds to your apple cider which you really don't want, or need.
This will cause your cider to spoil very quickly or end up with
something that is far inferior to what you could have made from good
apples. In fact, your cider will end up tasting very "earthy" rather
than the clean, crisp taste you are after.
Preparing your Apples for Making Apple Cider
you have made cider with apples that have been organically grown.
However, if you have sprayed your apples, then you need to wash them in
an acid bath to get rid of the residue spray. This can be done using
Take 100 gallons of water and mix in 6
quarts of hydrochloric acid in a thin stream, stirring quickly and
constantly while adding it to the water.
While you are working
with the acid, wear gloves and do this in an area that is well
ventilated. Use a wooden container or a non-metal container for this
process. Place your apples in the water and leave for 5 minutes.
Equipment needed for Making Apple Cider
need a grinder or a chopper of some sort to cut the apples into smaller
pieces. There are commercial grinders for this purpose. If you are only
making apple cider on a small scale, then you can cut them up in a food
After that you will need a press to squeeze out all
the juice, and bottles to put your cider in. Presses can be
expensive and run to many thousands of dollars. You can, however, buy a
water-bladder style press, for a fraction of the price, and works
If you are processing small amounts of apples, then you can use a juice
Sterilization solution. If making organic cider is important to you,
then you will
want to buy Perasan A.
This is an organic-approved sanitizer for
cleaning all your equipment, including the bottles.
Cider Making Tips:
Don't let your apple juice come into contact with iron at any stage. It
will cause your cider to go black when exposed to air.
will easily take on foreign flavors, so it is important to make sure
that your equipment if thoroughly clean before you start, and any press
cloths should be thoroughly boiled and cleaned before you start. Avoid
Any storage vessels for your cider must also be thoroughly cleaned
using scalded water.
Apples Needed to
Make Apple Cider?
will need about 9 kg
of apples to make about 5 liters of juice.
can make as much cider as you like, but you will just need to make sure
that you have enough fermenting bins and bottles for storage.
How to Make
are 2 methods of
making apple cider; one
is to just juice
the apples up, leave the juice to ferment using wild yeast in the air,
without any additional yeast or sugar.
This is a very straightforward
recipe but has some drawbacks.
Firstly, you can't always trust that the
wild yeasts will be successful, and secondly, cider made this way
doesn't keep very long and has to be drunk quite quickly.
Some of you
may be wondering why, of course, that should be a problem!
other method of
cider making is a little more scientific and
involves the addition of commercial yeast and sugar. This method is
more successful and the end product can be kept for a year or more.
That is if you don't drink all the bottles before then!
Cider: Step 1 -
Pick your Apples and Leave
your apples when
they are ripe when they come easily away from the
branches and when their pips are black inside rather than being a pale
color. Then leave your apples in their baskets for 2-3 days. This is so
that they can soften up before the next process.
Cider: Step 2 -
that you will need
to wash your apples, and then chop the apples
up into about one inch pieces. Now you can either take a knife and do
this, which is quite laborious, especially when you have lots of apples
to cut, or you can place them in a wooden box and chop them up with a
clean spade. Fill the box so the apples cannot move around too much,
but not too full that they will escape when struck with the blade of
the spade. Chop until all are in little pieces.
If you are really
you will own crusher that will do the chopping
for you. This consists of a stainless steel hopper with teeth at the
bottom that will reduce your apples into pieces big enough for the
press or juicer.
Whatever method you use
to cut up your apples, if you
have a lot of apples and there is a possibility that they will be
standing long enough to turn brown before they are juiced, then
submerge them in water to prevent this from happening.
Cider: Step 3 -
Juice your Apples
are ready to go
through a cider press. Put them through in
batches, using the arm of the press to reduce your apples to pulp,
getting every last drop of juice out of your apples. The pulp or
'cheese' as it is called that is left behind can be fed to your
chickens, goats, pigs or placed on your compost
best to get
rid of the cheese after each batch.
Your juice should flow
into a large, sterilized fermentation bin,
preferably plastic or stainless steel. If you use any other
metal the acid in the juice reacts very badly and you will have some
nasty tasting juice and cider. So stick to stainless steel or plastic.
Like wine making your equipment must be clean, so it is important to
make sure that everything has been well sterilized before you begin.
4 Leave to Ferment
are going to use
method one of cider making; that is not using
any sugar or commercial yeast, you can now place a muslin or cheese
cloth over the bin to make sure that no bugs and beasties enter your
cider. Leave it to ferment for a couple of days and you will see the
bubbles starting to develop after a day or two. Leave this for about 2
weeks or until fermentation has stopped.
Making Apple Cider: Step 5
into sterilized bottles and leave for about 6
Apple Cider from Store Bought Apple Juice
Apple Juice: Step 1
every 25 liters of
juice add 500g - 1kg of sugar and 2-3 teaspoons
of commercial brewing yeast. To add the sugar successfully, boil some
water and add enough water to the sugar to create a syrup like
Apple Juice: Step 2 - Add
adding that to the juice followed by the yeast.
Stir in the yeast and cover your fermentation bin and leave in a warm
ideal temperature is
about 4–16 °C (40–60 °F). A low
fermentation temperature allows the flavors to develop better. You can
achieve this either by placing the bin in the airing cupboard - if your
wife allows you to! - or place it on a heat mat, or in the corner of
the kitchen away from direct heat off the wood stove, but still warm
Apple Juice: Step 3 - Leave to Ferment
to take place for about 2-3 weeks, or until the
bubbles have stopped forming and the brown yeasty scum has been left at
the top of the bin.
Apple Juice:Step 4 - Rack
and Add Sugar
your bin and
place in a cool place for 24 hours before you rack
it off into sterilized bottles. At this stage you can add a teaspoon of
sugar to the bottles before you cap them.
Apple Juice: Step 5 - Leave
them alone for about
3-6 months before drinking.
BOOKS ON MAKING
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER
MAKE APPLE CIDER
1. Video Making Cider from
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