Simple Cider

Submitted by DM on Tue, 12/08/2014 - 23:02

Cider is quite a bit easier to make from scratch than beer – there’s no heating of water (that’s why it was the first booze brewed by the European settlers in North America) & there’s only one ingredient.

Find some friends & neighbours with apple trees & agree to visit them to collect apples late in the summer. No rotten ones, but as long as they aren’t too bruised then they’re fine. Collect them all together & take them home. Give them a good wash in just clean water. Cut them open & remove all bruises, insects & bad bits. Throw the good parts into the food processor & chop them up. Transfer into a fruit press & squeeze the juice out of the apple pieces.

Ignore idiots saying “why don’t you chuck the bad bits & worms in? Isn’t that how proper scrumpy is made?” Exert quality control & brew something you’ll want to drink.

A fruit muncher (has teeth that rotate inwards, crushing fruit into the middle & into pieces) is very handy, but a bit pricey if your just trying out cider making to see if you enjoy it.

A fruit press is a great help, but any way of compressing the apple mulch is good.

A fermentation vessel is needed too.

Obviously, all equipment must be clean.

Capture the juice & transfer to a fermentation vessel.

The natural yeasts on the apple skins should start the fermentation going, but after all the work of processing the apples to get the juice - and it is quite some work! - I’ve never left it to chance & I pitch a sachet of cider yeast in bought from a homebrew shop.

If you have many apple sources you can make individual variety ciders & blends.   You can add water & sugar if you want to experiment with different strengths of flavour & alcohol.   Honey can add flavour & make a stronger drink – especially if you are against adding processed & refined ingredients like sugar.

Leave for around a week at room temperature to ferment & bottle in PET bottles.   These bottles are useful to indicate the carbonation level of the cider inside as you can give the sides a squeeze to check for pressure.   They also won’t break in an explosion of sticky glass.

If you use a hydrometer you can measure when the cider has finished fermenting & the alcohol level too.