I made cider! (it’s still fresh though)

I started with 10 pounds of Cortland apples. Washed them, cored them, and macerated them in the ninja. Then they got put into my homemade cider press.. Turns out the bottom bucket needs to be cut down further as I can’t get it to fit in the screws when the follower is added. But it worked pretty well, so I’d say the concept worked. Tastes pretty good too, tart and acidic, but a bit sweet.

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I’m up to 3/4 of a gallon now. I feel like I might be able to get a full gallon, but it’s much harder now that it’s pretty much dried. It needs to be massaged at this point to get juice out. But the pomace is still giving off juice! I’m putting the juice in the refrigerator until tomorrow as I’m going to add yeast (!!) and probably a real air lock, but I need to go to the brewery store.

mini apple pies for breakfast

mini apple pies for breakfast

So this was an interesting experiment, I cooked the apple pie filling before I put it in the crust, so the cooking time in the oven was only 25 minutes to cook the crust. They are a bit messy as I tried to squeeze too much apples in each, and I should have cut the apples smaller, but they are delicious. Cleaning that stoneware pan is going to be a nightmare though…


Fruit wines/ciders/mead!

So I’ve been reading The Art of Fermentation  and there’s a great deal in there about experimenting with small batches of fruit based alcohols.  I also recently went to visit a friend of mine in Montreal who makes some delicious beverages that he calls “fruit cordials” and he had some suggestions for some directions to contemplate.

I had always thought that I couldn’t make ciders unless I could find unpasteurized apple cider or juice. And Peter thought he had been using some unpasteurized store bought apple juice, so we scoured the grocery stores looking for it, but it turns out what he has been using quite successfully was pasteurized! This opens up a lot of options as living in New England in the fall, I can barely step out of my door without tripping over apple cider.

What Peter calls fruit cordials,  Sandor Katz (in the book mentioned above) calls farm wine or fruit wine. It’s basically fruit with some sugar added and spring water. You let it ferment using the yeasts that naturally occur in and on the fruits. The sugar provides extra food for the yeasts to produce a higher alcohol content. Most fruit left to themselves will ferment into alcohol, but at a pretty low level. (Remember trying that juice that you found in the back of the car that had been rolling around for a few weeks and went fizz when you open it? That’s the basis of this type of fermentation.)

While at the store I also saw a reasonably priced 16 oz container of buckwheat honey, and having recently gotten to that part of Sandor Katz’s book, I knew I needed 16 oz for my half gallon ball jars I bought last week for this purpose.

So I’ve got a few things brewing all at once, in small half gallon batches:
* Cranberry – Honey Crisp Apple Cider (1 cup of frozen cranberries, 1 large apple, rest cider)
* Ginger Gold Apple Cider (3 apples, cider)
* Honey Crisp Apple Cider (1 large apple, cider)
* Raspberry Peach wine (1 cup of fresh raspberries, 15 small, previously frozen peaches, 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, spring water)
* Cranberry Peach wine (1 cup of frozen cranberries, 2 fresh peaches, 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, spring water)
* Buckwheat Honey Mead (16 oz buckwheat honey, 48 oz spring water)

They all got a good stir and then covered with a paper towel and the ball jar ring. They should get stirred often. I’m hoping to do it in the morning, when I get home from work, and then also before bed.

About a week from now (probably Sunday night, maybe Monday,, could be up to 10 days) they should be mostly done bubbling and the fruit comes out. At this point there will be tasting and seeing how they are going, stirring a bit more, or putting them into grolsch bottles to age.


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