Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pressing Apple Cider

Made apple cider over the weekend.

It's not hard to do if you have a few friends to help. You do need some equipment, but this can often be borrowed or rented. Most people agree that you get the best cider when you mix different varieties of apples.

1. Find some apples. Surely you know someone with an apple tree who can't use all of the apples.

2. Sort the apples. Blemishes are okay, but use common sense and don't press anything that is rotting.

3. Wash the apples. Even just letting them sit in a tub of water for a minute or two will remove dust and bugs from the surface.

4. Crush the apples. I rent an apple crusher. This smashes things up - skins, seeds, and all - into a pulp.

5. Press the apples. I rent a wine press. Put the pulp into the press and press out the cider.

6. The fresh cider will keep for only a few days in a refrigerator until it starts to ferment. You can:
a. Drink it quickly and give it to friends.
b. Freeze it.
c. Boil it to kill off the naturally-occurring yeasts.
d. Make it into hard cider.

What's left after pressing can be composted or gifted to a local horse farmer or pig farmer. It looks tempting to use the pulp to make applesauce or a pie, but you will quickly realize that an apple with all of the juice pressed out of it tastes pretty much like cardboard.


Aaron said...

Awright, I'm game, is it easy to make hard cider? Cuz I've heard it's hard to make easy cider.
Washington Heights reader

Ray said...

Both, in fact, are true. Making hard cider is like making compost. It shouldn't be more work than you want to put into it. And once you know how the basics, the secret is just letting the little critters living in there do their thing.

I promise to publish posts on both hard cider and easy cider in the near future.