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
About a week ago, I got a box full of napa cabbages from my aunt’s farm and was thinking of ways to use them up. Many were given away to friends and family, but a good number of them, I decided to set aside and 5 of them and make some homemade kimchi. It’s actually much easier than I thought and doesn’t take too long either. Here’s the “recipe” that we used, based on Evelyn’s grandmother’s recipe.
- 5 napa cabbages – halved
- 2 cups Korean hot red pepper powder
- 1 cup Korean fish sauce
- 5 heads garlic
- 2 bunches green onions
- 1 large bunch chives
- 1 lb ginger
- 3/4 cups salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
As a side note, these are all estimates as we just started chopping and mixing and tasting the mix as we went. You want a good balance of salty and spicy to go along with the flavours of the other ingredients. Think about kimchi that you eat at various Korean restaurants – what does it taste like? Do you prefer it saltier? Spicier? Use that as a general gauge of how the sauce tastes.
- Slice cabbages in half and soak in a large container/pot/bowl for several hours or overnight. The leaves will start to soften and wilt from the salt. The water should be salty, and mine was almost like sea water salty.
- Chop veggies and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. A few tips – cut veggies “diagonally”, so you get long thin slices of the green onions and chives. I used a food processor for the garlic and ginger.
- Using your hands (get gloves if you don’t want your hands to smell and turn red from the sauce), mix the ingredients together.
- Drain cabbage and carefully start rubbing the sauce all over the cabbage halves and in between each of the leaves. You want the sauce to try to coat all surfaces of the cabbage. Squeeze cabbage together and pack tightly in a jar. I used 2 large pickle jars for the cabbages.
- Place any leaves that fall off at the top of the jar once all the heads are packed tightly in the jar.
- Seal and leave the jar at room temperature overnight, then in a cool refrigerated area.
- I found local Ontario garlic at the Korean grocery store, and the napa cabbages were locally grown from my aunt’s farm just north of the city. I can also grow the chives and green onions and chili peppers for a more locally sourced dish – though the fish sauce, salt and sugar I’m not so sure about…..
- I also threw in a few of my backyard grown and dried cayenne peppers.
- I think the Korean red pepper flakes use cayenne peppers judging from the picture on the packaging ,but I’m not sure. This, along with the fish sauce (the ingredients were listed as anchovies and salt) are the secret sauce that give kimchi and a lot of Korean food their distinctive flavour.
- Feel free to taste and eat the cabbage as you go to get a sense of how the sauce tastes.
- Go to a Korean grocery store for the ingredients – especially the red pepper flakes and fish sauce. I found a whole shelf devoted to fish sauce and soy sauce at mine.
- Enjoy – the kimchi should last for several months in the fridge or cool place – I plan on keeping mine in our unheated cold room
- When jamming the sauce in between each of the cabbage layers, start from the middle outward. It is much easier than working from the outside in.
And now for some pictures for your viewing pleasure:
mise-en-place (of the raw ingredients at least)
a food processor makes for a great time saver in the kitchen
diagonal cut chives and green onions
round one of the sauce (we ended up making it in 2 batches)
shoving the sauce into all parts of the leaves
hard at work in the kitchen
rubbing that oh-so-delicious kimchi sauce into the cabbage leaves
the final product – two large pickle jars worth with a clementine in the foreground for perspective