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Making Apple Cider

Making Apple Cider

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Published by ra$h

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Categories:Types, Recipes/Menus
Published by: ra$h on Jul 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Drinking fresh apple cider is a great way to warm upafter raking autumn leaves. Making it yourself athome can be an even greater treat.People have been enjoying cider since at least 55 BC,when Romans arrived in England and found localsdrinking a cider-like liquid. Later, English settlersintroduced cider to America by bringing apple seedsspecifically for cider production.In the United States, fermented alcoholic apple juiceis called "hard cider," while freshly pressed, non-alcoholic cider is called "sweet cider." Cider is madefrom fermenting apple juice, which relies on naturalyeast present in the apples for fermenting.Fresh or unpasteurized apple juice or cider can causefood borne illness from bacteria. The directions below are for making and storing apple cider safely.
Selection of Apples
Apples used for cider don't have to be flawless.They do, however, have to be free from spoilage.You can use blemished apples and small sizedapples. You can mix apple varieties together or useall one variety. The only rule is to cut out anyspoilage areas on otherwise good apples.Spoiled areas will cause the juice to ferment toorapidly and will ruin the cider. Don't use applesthat appear brown, decayed or moldy
Apples should be firm and ripe. Green,undermature apples cause a flat flavor when juiced.The best cider comes from a blend of sweet, tartand aromatic apple varieties. Abushel of applesyields about 3 gallons of juice.
Getting Ready
Before juicing apples, sort and wash apples wellunder clean running water. Discard spoiled apples.Core and cut the apples into quarters or smaller  pieces.
Fruit Press 
Wash glass jars or bottles that will be used to holdyour pressed apple juice in warm, soapy water. Rinsethoroughly so no soap remains.Prepare a clean muslin sack or jelly bag for juicingthe apples. If using a new muslin sack or pillowcase,wash first to remove any sizing. Be sure all soap isrinsed out. An old, but absolutely clean pillowcasewill work.Always, as with any food preparation, start bywashing your hands and forearms thoroughly with hotwater and soap for at least 20 to 30 seconds before beginning preparation of the product. Utensils andequipment can be easily sanitized after washing andrinsing by filling with or soaking in a mixture of 1tablespoon household bleach per gallon of warmwater for at least 1 minute.
Juicing Apples
Small household appliances can be used to juiceyour apples. Apples should be cored and cut and then processed through a food chopper, blender or food processor. Put the crushed apple pulp into a cleanmuslin sack, or jelly bag, and squeeze out the juice.If you want to drink the juice now without makingcider, pasteurize it by heating to at least 160 degreesFahrenheit. Then, pour juice into clean glass jars or  bottles and refrigerate.For larger quantities, consider using a fruit press.Follow the directions that accompany your press for  juicing apples.
Making Sweet Cider
Begin with freshly pressed juice (not pasteurized).
If clear cider is what you want, let the bottled cider stand at 72 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 4 days.Clean bottles should be filled to just below the brimand stoppered with new, clean cotton plugs instead of a regular lid or cap. The cotton plug is used for safety.If pressure builds up during the fermentation thatoccurs, the cotton will pop out and release the pres-sure. If a cap is placed on the bottle, the bottle willexplode.After 3 or 4 days, sediment will begin settling onthe bottom as fermentation bubbles rise to the top. Now is the time to stop fermentation if you wantsweet, mild cider. Extract the clear liquid from thesediment by "racking off" the cider."Racking off" is done by inserting one end of aclean rubber tube, about 3 feet long, into the liquidand sucking at the outer end with your mouth, like astraw. As soon as you feel liquid in your mouth, pinchoff your end with your fingers and insert the tube intoan empty, clean and sterilized bottle, which should be placed well below the filled one. Liquid will flowfrom one bottle into the other, leaving the sediment behind.Pasteurize the cider to ensure its safety by heatingto at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Store the cider inthe refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower anddrink within 5 days. Freeze, after pasteurization, for longer storage.
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.

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