Cider With Rosie

You may not realise it but you can actually use any type of apples to make cider.   What you use normally depends on what you have growing in your garden.  For us here in Suffolk it is a combination of the dessert and cooking apples which we have growing in our back garden.  The blend of their juices gives us what they call an “Eastern Counties” cider that has a clean, sharp taste (as opposed to the richer “West Country” style which is made from cider apples).   As it takes 20lb or 9kg of apples to produce enough juice to fill a 4.5 litre or a gallon demijohn it is a good way of using up any surplus fruit, particularly as you can use windfalls

This post doesn’t contain a recipe for the actual recipe rather a guide as to how to make cider   For more detailed information I recommend The Two Thirsty Gardeners and either their excellent book “Brew It Yourself”  or visit http://www.twothirstygardeners.co.uk If you are interested

The first time I was involved in cider making was when I was about 10 years old and my father decided to have a go. To be honest I don’t really remember much from those days excepting the fact that I was in charge of the initial chopping the apples and that I wasn’t allowed to try the finished product!  I do remember my parents telling me they felt quite “squiffy” after trying just one glass which obviously I found hilarious at the time in the way that kids do

The way to process your apples for cider is quite straightforward.  We use a small garden shredder to finely cut the apples after the initial chopping and press the apples in an old hand made press I picked up from eBay for not too much money some 20 years ago. You can make a DIY press out of a wooden frame, a tray and a car jack if you are on a budget (or just making a small amount as an experiment).

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Once you have enough juice to fill your sterilised demijohn (leaving a few centimetres free at the top) just leave the juice to have access to the air to temper it for 24 hrs.  I just put a scrunch of kitchen roll in the neck to stop fruit flies from getting in.  You can use a crushed campden tablet at this point to kill off any wild yeasts but I would rather avoid the addition of sulphite so I don’t.

After 24 hrs I add some cider yeast (easily available – I got mine from Amazon),  put in an airlock and leave it to get on with it until it’s time for bottling in 2-6 weeks.

At the moment my cider is bubbling away slowly.   In about 6 weeks I will bottle it and let you know how it is going.  In the meantime next weekend we are going to try making perry from the fruit of the old warden pear tree at the bottom of the garden.   Looks like we are in for some good wassailing

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