First cider adventure

After rock-climbing on Saturday morning, Josh and I went apple picking at Larriland Farms. We got – believe it or not – 82 pounds of apples, Empire and Jonagold. In under an hour. They say cider should be made from at least three varieties of apples, but the only other ones available were Red Delicious and Magnolia Gold – both bland and sweet – so I thought I’d be better off sticking to the tarter varieties… maybe that will give me more complexity down the line.

First I had to slice and core them all so that they’d fit through the tube of the sausage grinder. This took about 5 hours:

And once they all managed to get mashed through the grinder, I poured the mash into an old pillowcase inside the press (without the pillowcase, when under pressure the mash actually spurted across the room from the holes in the colander!):

Cider press

I did four pressings, but at some time the next morning I threw up my hands and went to bed, with two bags of apples (about one pressing’s worth) left to go. They mashed just fine the next day. :)

I managed to get about 5 1/2 gallons of cider, about 50 bottles worth. (Homebrewing is not something you want to take up if you’re looking for an economic alternative to commercial brews). I washed and sterilized all of Josh’s old brewing equipment, and poured in a “sweet mead” yeast – one that will purportedly result in a sweeter, more appley cider. (If you like it drier, use champagne yeast).

I won’t know for months if it’s turned out any good – there are many steps left in the process, and then after it’s bottled it should be aged for at least a month, if I can wait that long – but I’m planning on starting another batch in mid-October anyway, this time with two different varieties of apples.

It was a long, tiring process that has left my fingers sore (all that slicing and chopping), but perhaps once it’s all done I’ll have some cider that I can approve of (and enjoy drinking). And things are already looking up: after three moppings the kitchen floor isn’t sticky any more! And the foot rub I got the day after made it all worth it. -grin-

One Response to “First cider adventure”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    chop and slice in a food processor–it will go faster and hurt less…

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