Cider making : An illustrated guide

Cider starts with apples. The more the better. We recommend a minimum of three bucketfuls which should produce a gallon of cider.

apple

 

We need the apples to be free of disease, so cut a random selection of good looking apples, and all bad looking apples in half as a check. Bruised apples are not a problem, but rotten apples should be discarded.

cut apple

 

If you want to you can wash your apples but there is probably no need unless you live next to a motorway, airport, crop spraying factory or other health hazard.

The remaining apples need to be crushed to a pulp. There are many ways to do this. Pounding in a large pestle and mortar will work, but is messy. Professional tools such as scratters or pulp masters really speed things up.

Next the pulp is pressed to seperate the juice from the flesh. The juice is collected, the flesh is composted, fed to the pigs or whatever.

 

Now we need to turn the juice into cider. If you simply leave the juice in a lidded bucket you might get lucky. The natural yeasts in the air landed on the apples while they were growing. These yeasts might now start producing cider for you. If you washed the apples this is less likely.

A better option than leaving it entirely to mother nature is to add a sachet of brewers yeast to the bucket to guarantee the right sort of yeast colonises the juice.

After 24 hours the juice should be bubbling merrily and after a few days there will be lots of bubbles, quite a bit of alcohol and a layer of sediment in the bottom of the bucket.

Now siphon off the juice into a sterilised demijohn or carbouy bottle and add an airlock. This, as the name suggests, allows excess gas to escape while keeping the outside air locked out.

 

Now over the next few weeks the yeast will continue to do its thing, although at a much slower rate.

 

Once the bubbles have completely stopped you will (with luck) have a gallon of dry, alcoholic cider.

cider