Home Made Cider
Sometime, just sometimes, I do a little foraging for my own pleasure and not for the benefit of WildSide.
The foraging I have in mind is the conversion of spare apples into cider, or possibly more accurately into scrumpy which seems to describe cider not made by mass production methods and often a bit pulpy and cloudy.
We have a tree in the garden which yields odd apples. They are either very sour or suddenly they turn sweet but in the same instant their texture goes "fluffy" and in both conditions they are just about inedible. My answer over the last couple of years has been to crush them into cider and the results have been a pleasing clear and dry drink which is incredibly potent. Half a pint and we are giggling like girls!
This year we pressed the apples yet again, but my brother added to our supply with a couple of compost bags full of eaters from his orchard. The diy press was assembled a second time and we produced another 11 litres of scrumpy.
My approach is very Heath Robinson and my tools are limited in the extreme, but in the interests of posterity here is my method:
Take a big sack of apples and quarter them
If you cant process them at once leave them submerged in water overnight
Two sacks of apples quartered
Pulp them to a mash in a food processor
Pulping the quartered appled
Put the mash onto knotted muslins (baby dept of Tesco)
Preparing the muslins for pressing
Press the muslins between two boards using a car jack to exert pressure
The DIY apple press!
Collect the juice (the amount of juice released varies according to the type of apple)
Basic apple juice
If possible leave the juice to settle and syphon the fluid from the sediment. This may be easier said than done and some apples have so much natural yeast on the skins that they spontaneously start to ferment.
After fermentation with solids settling out
If they don't ferment naturally, add yeast and maybe some sugar and leave in a demijohn till the bubbling stops.
Leave the end result to settle and draw off the clear (or cloudy) scrumpy putting it into sterilised bottles.
Store in a cool place for six months before drinking.
I have to admit that I have come to enjoy my autumnal cider making routine, which takes about three hours and results in about 17 litres of very tasty scrumpy.