Wednesday 25 January 2017

The Great Cider Adventure

Cider making! Yay! This has turned into such a fun little project that I've decided to blog about it. Here's hoping that it will help other cider newbies avoid making the same mistakes that I have already made, and will inevitably still make, as the adventure goes on. Lets go back to late September... apple picking time.

Marcus' Dad has a great little bit of land on which five old apples trees grow. I'm talking really old, at least 60-70 years old. They are so old no one even knows what kind some of them are. Despite their age, every year they produce a shwackload (highly technical term for a lot) of apples. We eat some of them but the vast majority are usually sent to a local farm for juicing. The jugs of fresh juice are frozen and apple juice is enjoyed throughout the year. It was a great crop again this year and the family banded together and picked the apples in one afternoon.

Now as delicious (not to mention organic) as this juice is, apple juice of any kind doesn't really fit into my paleo/primal mindset and to me, it isn't good enough to be a cheat item. However, apple cider, now you're talking! Not the sickly sweet stuff in a can though; give me something crisp and dry, sparkling and refreshing on a summer day while sitting on the deck in the afternoon sun - I'll use that for a cheat anytime.

So when we drove up to the juicing place, truck loaded with bins of apples, only to find that he wasn't doing any more juicing for the season, it seemed fate was telling me I had to try making apple cider.

We have a wedding coming up and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to learn something new (I love having a project or three on the go), and potentially have something delicious in time for the wedding.

We have a few really good cideries in the area. My favourite is Sea Cider and their diversity in flavours is inspirational. If I can make anything close to what they make I'll be very excited. I decided to just go with the straightforward cider brewing recipe for this first batch. If that goes well then down the road I'll try experimenting with different flavours and techniques.

The picture below shows about 2/3 of the apples we picked. These are Golden Delicious apples and were destined for straight juice. I've tasted cider from Golden Delicious and its pretty unimpressive. Tastes like a whole lot of alcoholic nothing. But...we also picked 6 more bins from the trees in the back field and these are the ones that I hoarded for cider juice. Guesses are that they are Winesaps or Cox Pippins. Whatever they are, they have a whole lot more tartness and complex flavour than the Golden Delicious. I'm really hoping that their fuller body will translate into some delicious cider.

So now we've got the apples but how to get the juice out of them - all 15 totes full! Next up, how to juice hundreds of apples at home...

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