This year’s apple harvest was fantastic. Our little orchard produced so many apples – too many even for the deer to keep up with, which means we were able to pick a lot for ourselves. At first we made applesauce. But there were still bushels and bushels of apples. What next? Apple cider! We’ve made applesauce plenty of times but never tried making cider. We were up for the challenge.
We let our apples sit and “sweat” for a couple weeks – allowing them to rest in a cool place before pressing them makes them juicier and sweeter. We’re not sure what types of apple trees we have, but it seems to be a variety of tarter green apples and sweeter red apples. The combination makes for a great blend.
Josh ordered a nice, sturdy looking fruit press, and we got to work. After some trial and error, we found that quartering the apples and then grinding them in a large food processor worked best for extracting the maximum amount of juice. Some folks have fruit crushers for this part of the process, but we made it work without one.
We filled the fruit press with the fine apple pulp that we prepared in the food processor. Once the press was totally full, we pressed! The juice was sweet and flavorful. Nothing beats fresh apple cider, and it was really satisfying to work hard and be rewarded with something so tasty.
We kept a small amount to drink as sweet cider but put the majority in a six gallon carboy to ferment into hard cider. We used some champagne yeast, combined with some wild, natural yeast, and added in a little bit of sugar to help the fermentation process. Over the next few weeks to months, we’ll monitor the sugar content and ABV to see when it’ll be ready to drink. Hopefully we’ll have a nice hard cider to enjoy later this year.