It started out as a bit of fun at first, when I got together with a couple of friends in an attempt to make cider. It seemed pretty straightforward and there’s nothing better than to quench your thirst with a glass on a warm summer’s day.
In September 2010 we harvested about a tonne of eating apples from five trees with a small amount of cooking apples for flavour. The best cider apples are those with lots of tannin but we used regular garden apples which are grown for sweetness not tannin.
The apples were washed to get rid of dirt and then chopped to make sure that any bad apples could be detected and discarded. Grubs tend to make their way to the core so chopping them is a great way to find if they’ve burrowed inside.
We manually pulped the apples in a ‘masher’ which gave us a ‘pomace’ which we pressed in our newly acquired press to give us our apple juice. By checking the sugar content at this point we were able to predict the alcohol content by volume (ABV) as a respectable 6.5%.
We fermented the apple juice using only the naturally occurring yeast in the apples for a couple of days in our fermentation containers which we capped before leaving them for around 6 months.
During the summer we could wait no more and poured off the first of our 300 litres which I can report was an exceptionally satisfying very dry cider to be enjoyed on a warm sunny afternoon.
We calculated that to produce 5 litres of cider it took around 1 man hour – the lengths we’ll go to get a decent drink knows no bounds!
After the success of cider making we are now experimenting with Birch sap wine and Elderflower Champagne!