words Al Woods
Making cider is a fun and beautiful way to spend a day. All you need are fruits, a press, some time, and jug to keep it in.
Store-bought ciders often have preservatives and may source their materials from some pretty questionable places. But if you’ve got the tools, access to fruit—especially freshly picked fruit, you can make your very own cider at home. Here’s how.
Fresh Apple Cider
Apple cider is all the rage. The only problem is a lot of it is just processed and pasteurized juices with flavor added unless it’s coming from a credible source. Thankfully, you can do this at home. The folks at the Simply Cider Presses state that the process of producing it yourself will not only give you a top-quality apple cider, but will also be enjoyable, therapeutic, and satisfying. All you need is a good quality home press.
Here’s how it’s done:
- To press the apples, simply toss them into the hopper of your fruit grinder and turn the grinding shaft. If you don’t have one (you should get one) mash them up to a pulp by hand.
- The ground-up fruit should fall to the pressing plate. Turn the pressing plate and let the cider flow into the collecting container.
- Pour it out into a glass and enjoy!
- You can strain out the solids if you want, but there’s something rustic and delicious about some pulp left in the finished product.
Once you’ve perfected making a cider base, you can take your fermenting to the next level with a sparkling cider. It’s similar to the process of making hard cider, except it’s with much less time and, therefore, no alcohol. It’s a simple, two-part recipe: you’ve got to make the cider, and then add the bubbles. Chances are, if you measure it outright, it’ll come out just fine on the first try.
- If you’ve got a gallon of fresh cider, mix about ½ cup of warm cider into a measuring cup and mix in some champagne yeast.
- Once the yeast is dissolved, add it back to the entire gallon and mix thoroughly.
- Distribute the mixture into sealed bottles and let it sit at room temperature away from sunlight for 24 hours. This will allow the carbon dioxide to build naturally in the bottles.
- If you don’t have access to champagne yeast, baker’s yeast will do the trick. It does tend to alter the taste a bit. It might come out a bit “yeasty,” but it works well in a pinch.
Mix It Up
You don’t have to limit yourself to apples. You can press any fruit into a tasty cider. You can try pears, grapes, and combinations of each. There truly is no limit to what you can press. Adding yeast and time can turn anything into vinegar for salads and cooking. Fruit kinds of vinegar are especially delicious with spring veggies. Find out which combination fits the best with what you have around you.
Making cider is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. There’s beauty in being able to take on this skill and share it. That’s where its origins are. So now that you know how to do it, what are you waiting for? Pass on the knowledge, and maybe a freshly made bottle of cider for your friends.