Apple Cider - Au Natural!
Well well well... Do I have a recipe for you!!
I have used this recipe for 3 years now using local apples from near unused orchards where we have been lucky enough to live. I tend to use tart cooking apples to help combat the sugar needed for the alcohol fermentation.
This recipe does take a little time - around 2 weeks from freezing the apples until bottling but it's not complex in the slightest. It can be drunk as sparkling apple juice between week 1 and 3 or as a cider after about 3 months. I cracked open a bottle 2 nights ago that is 18 months old! Brilliant too.
You don't need to add any yeast to this recipe as there will be enough natural yeast floating around the air and on the apple skins!
MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE - DO NOT STORE IN GLASS BOTTLES!
Yes, I found this out the hard way with shattered glass bottles and sticky cider for miles...
1.5kg Frozen Cooking Apples
800gm White Sugar
3 Lemons - Rind and Juice
1. Freeze the apples in plastic bags for 3 days (minimum). Take out and chop them roughly into 4's before putting them in a food processor. (Seeds, skin and all) Add some of you 6L of water as you blend to have them move and break down.
2. Place the pulp and the rest of the water in a clean, 10L bucket and cover it with a tea towel for 7 days - giving a good stir each morning and night. Strain the pulp out using cheese/muslin/mutton cloth, reserving the liquid and giving the apple to the chooks or pigs.
3. Return the juice to the bucket and add in the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add grated lemon rind and juice. Leave for 48 hours.
4. Strain and bottle into recycled plastic bottles, leaving about 2 inches of air and then squeeze that air out before putting the lid on.
Drink between week 1 and 3 as sparkling apple juice or leave it for at least 3 months for it to turn clear and ferment fully.
BEWARE - They are EXPLOSIVE and can take 5 slow minutes to fully un-cap. This is likely to bring up some sediment from the bottom so it would pay to leave it sit in the fridge uncapped for as long as you can bear to resettle
Don't be afraid to play with flavourings! (add in at the first ferment)
Fresh sliced GINGER and fresh THYME
Orange and Thyme
Pear instead of or mixed with the apples
Add berries or rhubarb in the first ferment
Spiced, like cinnamon sticks and vanilla pods
Mulled - Cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, honey an Orange
Or take some further inspiration from the range of flavours currently on the market. This year I plan to try replacing out some of the white sugar for honey which should give it a brilliant flavour and creaminess