Thursday, April 22, 2010

Making cider - or attempting too.

If you saw the earlier post about 'Apples' you may be interested to know that I have started making cider. I've done some reading up about it and there seems to be 2 main ways of doing this, one way is to crush the apples, extract all the juice and let it ferment using the apples own natural yeasts, then rack into demijohns, put an airlock in and leave it. Sound pretty easy until you think of all those apples you need to crush.
Another way seems similar to making wine. This is what I'm going to try, I may get it all horribly wrong but there is only one way to find out isnt there?
To anyone wondering what happened to the plum wine, I haven't forgotten about posting here, I need to sort through some photos, then date order and list the process. So I will be back with that soon.
So here we go:
Extracting the essence from fruits normally involves pressing, which is great for grapes and other soft fruits. Harder fruits such as apples can be pressed if softened by 'steeping' first. Steeping is the process of soaking the ingredient in hot or cold water and this extracts all the water soluble goodness from your ingredient.
First you need to cut the fruit into small pieces which increases the surface area, I read that by using citric acid it stops the fruit from discolouring. I didn't have any so I used the juice from about 6 lemons off my tree in the garden and added it to a large pan of water. At first I cut the cores off but then thought 'Nah! just chuck it in, it's cider!' I did take out any bruises and nasty bits though.
When the pan was full of chopped apples, I transferred them to the brewing barrel and poured over a kettle of boiling water, this helps to kill the natural yeasts. Remember apples have their own yeast that is used in traditional cider making. I'm going to use a cider yeast and add sugar to make the brew a bit stronger because I'm adding water to the mix instead of using pure juice and by using water it waters it down! Funny that!
There are two large pans of apples in the large bucket and I poured 3 kettles of boiling water over. Then I allowed it to cool for a while until it was warm. I then added 1 crushed campden tablet, this also kills off any natural yeasts and I added 2 tsps of pectinase which helps to extracts the flavours/juices.
Because some of the apples were not entirely covered and I didn't want to add anymore water, (I will put the softened fruit into a press to extract some juice) I used the large pan lid and then placed another pan of water on top. It all seems a bit odd maybe but it made sense at the time. :D
I will now leave the apples to steep for 24 hours maybe 48, depends on how they soften.

Please note that I am using a combination of methods I've read on the internet. It seems a bit like making wine at this stage, but I'm hoping that by using cider yeast it won't end up being wine. I would like to make apple wine too, so if I do then I will have a comparison. Of course it might all be a huge failure and only be good enough for stripping paint!

Back soon, I promise.

Oh yes the wheelbarrow is now banished from the house!
But I still have this lot to deal too...........


  1. I love the wheelbarrow in the house. Hope the cider is good.

  2. It's been in a hallway for a week! lol I hope so too!

  3. Cider! Wino carrot cake!! That's it! I'm coming over! hahaha. I wish : )

  4. I'll make a bed up! Might have to get a friend to distil some malt whisky, I know you good folk north of the border enjoy a wee dram! :D


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