In October 2013, I had the fortune to have a lot of extra apples. With only so many apples I could eat, and after dehydrating several trays already, I decided it would be a good idea to have a go at making hard cider. Here are the steps I took to make this happen along with some comments and notes on the process
- Wash and quarter apples
- Remove stems and seeds.
- Cut away any bruises and defects
- Place apple quarters in a high speed blender and blend until thick and smooth.
- Add some water facilitate fast and efficient blending
- Pour pulp into a strainer
- Place strained juice into a fermenting vessel
- Add yeast (I used champagne yeast)
- Wait until fermentation finishes, then rack and bottle
- When removing the stems and seeds, it’s ok if a few remain but try to remove as much as possible. I’m not sure how much this would affect the taste, but I’d imagine too much could impart a woody, bitter, and overly tannic taste
- If you add a lot of water to facilitate the blending of the apples, you may end up with less flavourful cider. I tried to use as little water as possible, but enough so that the apple quarters would still blend easily
- You can cut the apples into smaller pieces depending on the size of the apple to facilitate blending
- When straining a small quantity of cider, a relatively small collecting bowl and strainer can work. I ended up using an old pillowcase (cleaned and washed before using) to catch and collect the excess pulp
- After collecting the pulp, I let the pillowcase hang to drip overnight. I rigged up two saw horses and tied the pillowcase to a stick running across each end
- You can squeeze out any excess pulp to get as much liquid as possible
- Excess pulp can be used in a number of ways such as food for the worm compost or outdoor compost, added as a filler in baked goods like pancakes, breads, cakes, and cookies, as an ingredient in oatmeal, in shakes/smoothies, or dehydrated as apple pulp. The more juice you squeeze out of the pulp, the less sweet and flavourful the pulp will be. Squeeze out all/most of the juice and your pulp will be pretty tasteless.
- If you’re impatient, you can drink the cider anytime during fermentation. The longer you wait, the more dry and alcoholic the cider will be. Taste at regular intervals until it is to your liking