Apples are healthy. Cider is made of apples. Therefore cider is healthy. We put together a recipe for apples in their final stage of evolution – bubbly goodness in a glass.
Cider usually takes 14 days to ferment, if you’re not keen on waiting that long to consume your homemade cider, head over to The Greenhouse for free flowing cider at Ciderfest.
Time needed: Approximately 14 days
Serving size: Around 4L, drink responsibly!
Safety: Make sure that all containers and surfaces in contact with apples/apple juice/cider need to be CLEAN.
Ingredients: APPLES! apple yeast, campden tablet (sodium metabisulphite), malic acid, pectolase, caster sugar, water, sweetness.
For the apples you’ll want a mixture of sweet, tart and bitter apples. For starters, go for a 60/40 split of Pink Lady and the good ol’ Granny Smith apples (9kg ? 4.5L).
Keep them covered (e.g. under sackcloth) for a few days until ripe- make sure there are no bad bits though!
When they’re ready, wash and quarter them, and then transfer the apples into the ubiquitous bucket.
Now, you can start crushing. Small quantities are traditionally milled with a large wooden beam – forget about going to the gym, this will give your arms a good work out.
Not keen on working out your arms? You can also use a blender, but make sure that you don’t overdo it. You only want pulp; no juice just yet.
Now, you want extract the juice from the pulp.
Press the pulp through a sieve (a cloth will do) and collect the juice in a clean container.
Add a campden tablet (sodium metabisulphite) into the juice (1 per 4.5L), to prevent oxidation and kill off wild yeast.
3. Adjusting for Flavour
At this point you can start adjusting the taste and appearance of your cider in 3 ways: acidity, clarity, and alcohol content.
- Acidity is all about pH, and pH is one of the biggest influences on the taste of your cider. Get a good pH meter that can measure to an accuracy of 0.1 on the pH scale (not the soil/garden variety). Aim for a pH between 3.2 – 4.0. If the pH is too low, the cider will be too sharp, counter by adding precipitated chalk (calcium carbonate) at 1g/L increments. If the pH is too high, your cider will be susceptible to microbial infections that will ruin its taste; add malic acid (which is also naturally in apples) at 1g/L increments.
- To aid the breakdown of pectin in apples (pectin acts like glue to stick apple cells together), add pectolase. Not only will this bring out the flavours of the apples, but will also give your cider a clearer look.
- Use a hydrometer to gauge the final alcohol content of your cider before the fermentation process. This is the start gravity. Aim for a start gravity of 5.5-6.0% alcohol content. To increase the start gravity (make more alcoholic) add caster sugar (but don’t get carried away – you’re already sweet enough). To decrease the start gravity just add some H20 (water).
Within 24 hours after pressing, start the fermentation process. Add apple yeast, i.e. thiamine (0.2 mg/L) and ammonium sulphate/phosphate (300 mg/L). Do not use bread yeast!
Ferment at 20 degrees Celsius – 27degrees Celsius (keep the temperature as stable as possible) for 5-14 days or until the hydrometer stays the same for a few days. Keep the cider in a sealed container, preferably glass.
Once fermentation is completed, transfer the cider into a clean container (siphoning off the yeast for clear cider).
Adjust for taste by adding malic acid or sweeteners e.g. Stevia or Acesulphame K. Avoid adding sugar (sucrose) unless you want to induce secondary fermentation (this will increase the carbonation of your drink – if you’re into it, go for it).
For short-term storage, i.e. 4-6 weeks, plastic PET coke bottles are fine.
For longer storage use green/brown tinged bottles or beer bottles, this lining will prevent UV radiation from ruining the taste of your cider- who are we kidding, no one abstains from cider for that long!
By Joanna Ng