Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apple Cider

I have these three aunts that make loads of hard apple cider every fall and age it in oak barrels. No, they're not shut ins. No, they don't live together! No, they're not witches! Well, I don't know what they do, but their cider is incredible, a local delicacy. You don't have to age your cider in oak barrels, or even press the apples yourself, though, so here's the gist of it:

1 gallon apple juice (from 15-17 lbs of Apples)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c lemon juice
1 campden tablet
1 tsp yeast nutrients
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 sachet champagne yeast

Combing apple and lemon juice, sugar, nutrients, pectic enzyme, and campden tablet. Mix, and allow to sit overnight to kill off wild yeasts. The next day, add in champagne yeast and top with an airlock. Champagne yeast ferments a little slower than other yeasts. After 15-20 days the mixture should stop fermenting. Transfer to secondary fermentor and store for one month or more before bottling. Age one year if possible, but if you can't, give it a try!

1.)Apples are high in pectin, your wine might take a long time to clear or not clear at all without pectinase.
2.)Pressing your own apples is super easy if you have a fruit press (can also be used for grapes etc.), but can be more difficult if you don't. In a few months I'll post showing how a press works, and give you all the details. A better option is to use organic/natural apple cider from your supermarket (make sure there's no sodium benzoate or sulfur compounds). The even better option is to go to your local orchard and pick up some unpasteurized apple cider they've pressed and use that. If they pasteurize, that's okay, but cold pasteurization is better: this is where they shine an ultraviolet light through the cider to kill bacteria, and it doesn't change the flavor at all.

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