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

Whole blended apples into pulp

Whole blended apples into pulp

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.

Pulp strained out through muslin cloth

Pulp strained out through muslin cloth

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.

Pulp gone, Time to add the lemon

Pulp gone, Time to add the lemon

4 Lemons worth of rind pre-juicing

4 Lemons worth of rind pre-juicing

Juice the lemons by hand if you don't have a juicer

Juice the lemons by hand if you don't have a juicer

Ready to start the second ferment

Ready to start the second ferment

I had a play with flavours for a bit of variety 

I had a play with flavours for a bit of variety 

Apple Cider

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

6L Water

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

 

TIPS:

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