Posted 20th October
Do you ever have a surplus of home-grown or gifted apples?
Have you ever wanted to make crystal clear cider with them? This is now simple to do at home as Nevin Stewart of Juice and Strain™ explains.
"Start by pre-santising all parts of the kit which will come into contact with the fresh apple juice by immersing it in sodium metabisulphite solution for a few hours. The solution is prepared by dissolving four Campden tablets per 4.5 litres of tap water. Apples should be double washed - if any are showing signs of mould, they should be discarded. If you're making fresh apple juice for immediate consumption, you should use only hand picked fruit, and not windfalls (these are apples which have been blown down by the wind - there is a risk of potential contamination from apples which have landed on the ground).
The next stage is to set up your kit and process the apples. While this is happening rehydrate a commercial yeast in some of the fresh apple juice. We use a champagne yeast which provides a crisp and dry cider. This is done for consistency and reliability reasons. Measure the specific gravity of your apple juice and ensure that it contains enough sugar to give you at least 5% alcohol by volume in your finished cider. Typically two of us, using two juicers alternately, can successfully Juice and Strain around 100kg of apples in an afternoon session, which generates just over 56 litres of clear juice in the process.
Inoculate your juice, contained in a pre-sanitised demi john, and seal it with an air lock. Store it at between 15 - 20 °C for three weeks - your cider should then drop clear and give a hydrometer reading of 1.000 or below. Your cider is now ready for drinking! However, it's worth considering it will improve with storage over the winter to be bottled in the spring."
If you're still not sure, you can watch the following YouTube video to give you an idea of what's involved.
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