Fermenting Dry orHard Cider
If you are seeking a dry cider, with more ‘zip’or bite’to it, ferment the cider longer at room tempera-ture. Use an air lock, a curlicue glass cork, as your plug instead of cotton wool. (This can be purchased athome brewing supply stores.) If you can't locate asupply store, substitute three-thicknesses of cleanmuslin, tightly stretched over the bottle opening andsecured well around the neck. Be sure to use strong,sound glass or the bottle may burst from pressure dueto the increasing fermentation.In about 10 days the cider will begin looking quitefrothy and may foam over the top. This is normal,simply wipe off the bottle, replace the muslin withclean fabric and let frothing continue until the foam-ing stops fermentation is complete.Fermentation turns all the sugars in the cider intoalcohol; therefore, this cider will no longer be a sweetdrink. The cider is dry, or hard, alcoholic cider.
Pasteurizing and Storing Cider
Unpasteurized, or fresh, cider may contain bacteriathat cause illness, such as
E. coli O157:H7
or Salmonella. Harmful bacteria must be killed by a pas-teurization process prior to drinking the cider.To pasteurize, heat cider to at least 160 degreesFahrenheit, 185 degrees Fahrenheit at most. Measurethe actual temperature with a cooking thermometer. Itwill taste less ‘cooked’if it is not boiled. Skim off thefoam that may have developed and pour the hot cider into heated, clean and sanitized plastic containers or glass jars. Refrigerate immediately.To freeze, pour hot cider into plastic or glass freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace for expansion.Refrigerate until cool and then place in the freezer.
Aglass or plastic fermentation lock -a curlicue stopper-fits into the neck of thebottle and prevents air from contaminating thecider while allowing fermentation gasses toescape.
Tips for Safe Homemade Apple Cider
Avoid using apples that have visible signs of decay or mold growth.
Wash apples thoroughly before pressing or grinding to make cider.
Use a fruit press or small kitchen appliances to crush the fruit.
Start by washing your hands and sanitizing equipment. Place washed and rinsed utensils andequipment in a mixture of 1 tablespoon household bleach per gallon of water for at least 1 minute.
Squeeze juice through a clean, damp muslin cloth.
Pasteurize cider to ensure safety. Heat to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit and pour into warm jars toprevent breakage.
Store cider in the refrigerator for immediate use, or up to 5 days. Put cider in the freezer if you want tokeep it longer.
Be sure to use strong, sound glass bottles that will not break during fermentation.
Caution: Young children, elderly and immunocompromised individuals should never drink freshapple cider unless it has been heated to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.