Make Your Own Cider

It is that time of year that the apples from my tree fill the floor of my garden, walks with my dog are punctuated with the crunch of apples under my wellington boots and the village green is starting to develop a sweet hoy of fermenting fruit.

Therefore with the abundence of apples apparent, our need to not waste calls for me to dig out my Mum’s old recipe for scrumpy. I should also add that if your tree isn’t yeilding much fruit then have an ask round your neighbours as I guarentee at least a few of them will have no idea what to do with their own glut. You could even thank them with a bottle of the good stuff at the end.

I have broken it down into three easy steps.

1. Crush

Leave your apples for a couple of days to soften, or collect nice looking ones that have fallen to the ground, then put them in an electric crusher OR in a strong wooden box and use a clean, sharp spade to chop them up into nice little pieces before arranging them on a fruit press (ask a neighbour to borrow one). Apple juice levels vary greatly, but an average of 4.5kg (10lb) of apples makes about 4.5l (1 gall) of cider.

2. Press

Search online or ask a friend or neighbour to find a cheap second-hand apple press. Put your crushed apples in even layers covered with muslin, then start pressing them so the juice runs into a demijohn or fermenting bin. You can then compost the pulp and see what state the juice is in by tasting it.

3. Ferment

Once the juice is stored, the natural yeasts from the apple skins will take effect. If you want to make sure of success, add several teaspoons of yeast to the mix. Fermentation can take 10 days to up to a month, after which you can sample the juice or syphon the cider into bottles to store.

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