This apple cider is prepared without added sugar, so it is much easier to drink, quenches thirst and is less caloric than wine. This is an easy-to-make drink, so at home it is prepared very often. We offer you a proven recipes and cooking technologies.
Cider is a low-alcohol beverage obtained by fermenting apple, pear or berry juice without adding sugar. It has a characteristic honey or greenish color (homemade cider may turn out a little unclear). On sugar content: from dry to sweet. The most popular is apple cider, which at one time became a cult drink in the UK, especially in the western part of the country. The less popular is pear cider, which in the United Kingdom is called perry.
Apple cider is very popular in France, in particular in the regions of Brittany and Normandy. In the latter, you guessed it, it is also used to make Calvados. In Germany, cider is called apfelwein (apfelwein), which literally translates as “apple wine”. Also, the drink is popular in Spain (in Asturias and the Basque Country). In America, if you happen to go there, a soft drink (a kind of apple juice) is called cider, an alcoholic drink is called a “hard cider”.
The alcohol content in cider is not high: 1.2–8.5% in England, 3.5–12% in continental countries. In UK legislation, it must contain at least 35% apple juice, but in the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), a voluntary consumer organization in England, they believe that at least 90% should be included in its cider. In France, only drink that is completely made from apple juice can be called cider. In the US, the minimum is 50%.
We will offer you several options for preparing apple cider at home, as in 100% apple juice, and with the addition of water and sugar. The technology of preparing cider using wine technology, which is used to prepare all apple wines, will be described in great detail. This technology allows even the most novice winemakers to prepare a decent drink at home.
Apple Cider Wine Technology
The first recipe will be based on the preparation of the drink according to the wine technology. Its main difference from the technology of preparation of traditional cider is the primary imitation of the juice on the pulp (apple cake). In ordinary apples, there is less tannin than is required by tasty and durable cider – in European countries for its production, long ago, special “cider” varieties of apples, rich in tannin, acids and other things, were brought out. Imitation on the pulp allows not only to saturate the wort with the necessary substances, but also to get apple juice as much as possible and as easily as possible.
Stage 1. Choose and prepare apples
Ordinary apples, which we use as food, are poorly prepared for making homemade cider, because they have little tannins and often even less acids. Therefore, we need a mixture of different varieties, among which must be apples sour, sweet and tart. But we can use those that are at hand, while it is better to go pick some wild apples in a nearby park than to stock up on the market. For all apple wines, including cider, winter varieties that are harvested at the end of autumn and left for 1-2 months to ripen in the cellar are best suited.
For cider and so-called table wines, it is better to choose sour-sweet apples of autumn household breeds (acid content – 0.6-0.7%, sugar – 10-15%). As for the “blending” (in this case, mixing different varieties of apples, depending on their taste), there are many proportions. The most common:
- 3 hours of sweet, 3 hours, tart and 2 hours of sour apples;
- 2 hours of sweet, 2 hours of tart and 1 part of sour;
- 1 part sweet, 1 part tart and 2 part sour;
- 1 tsp sweet, 3 tart tart;
- 2 hours sweet, 1 hour tart;
- 2 parts of bitter apples should be taken 1 part sweet.
Apples must necessarily reach – for this, after harvesting, they must be placed in the basement for several days (or weeks, if these are late varieties). After ripening, the fruit should be washed a little, but without enthusiasm, so that natural yeast cultures remain on them to start the fermentation process. The main thing to remove strong pollution. Fruits can be wiped with a thick cloth. All wormholes and rotted places must be trimmed.
Next, all the apples need to grind with a grater, meat grinder, food processor or a perforator with a special nozzle. The wort is ready for imitation.
On average, it takes about 10 kg of ripe apples to make 5 liters of apple cider.
Stage 2. Mashing of apple wort
The resulting pulp should be placed in a container with a wide neck. In the classic recipe for fermentation, neither of which is necessary, as, incidentally, the mash itself. But without apple meal and sugar, the fermentation process can be very long (including due to the low content of tannin in the juice), and the cider will not be as strong as we would like. At this stage, you can make a little sugar, but it would be wiser to do it after podbrazhivaniya, when we get pure juice, sugar does not go to junk.
First, cover the container with gauze and send it to a warm place for 3-4 days. The contents need a couple of times a day to mix. After that, when fermentation begins (a sour odor appears, the wort starts to foam), the pulp must be squeezed through a thick cloth or several layers of gauze, and the resulting juice must be poured into a clean, dry fermentation container. A water lock must be installed on the container, which will release carbon dioxide and prevent oxygen from getting inside, which can lead to wort molding, apple cider vinegar and other troubles.
As a water seal, you can use an ordinary medical glove with a small hole on one of their fingers. But it will be safer to make an analogue of the factory (it can be found in the store for winemakers, by the way): pick up the phone (for example, from a dropper, which is sold in any pharmacy) and thread it into a hole that needs to be cut in the lid. After that, it will be necessary to cover the joints with plasticine, silicone or to drip wax. The reverse side of the tube should be placed in a glass of water.
Stage 3. Compilation of apple wort, rapid fermentation
If you decide to responsibly approach the process and prepare cider for the whole year, then we advise you to familiarize yourself with the table below. It presents the proportions of the composition of the cider wort, taking into account the taste of apples. Water and sugar should be added after filtration of mash from the pulp. Sugar can be pre-dissolved in slightly heated water or apple juice.
To make up 10 liters of wort to get 8 liters of apple cider:
The prepared mash must be sent to a dark place where it is possible to maintain the air temperature in the range of 20-27 o C. The temperature will depend on how quickly the wild yeast processes sugar. It usually takes about 30 days, but you should focus on external signs. If a glove was used, then a sure sign of the end of fermentation would be its “falling off”. If a water seal was used, carbon dioxide bubbles will not appear in a glass of water. The wort should be clarified, a dense yeast sediment will appear on the bottom, and the cider itself will be dry in taste (bitter-sour, without sweetness).
Stage 4. Silent fermentation of apple cider, ripening
Fermented cider should be removed from the sediment with a hose (decanting), then vigorously stirred to remove excess carbon dioxide. Pour into a clean, dry glass container just below the neck and reinstall the water seal. In this form, apple cider must be sent to a cool place with a temperature of about 10-15 o C for clarification and aging. After a month, take a sample to make sure everything goes as it should. Yeast sediment should appear – decant. At this stage, cider can be sweetened to taste by adding sugar or, more preferably, fructose. Re-install the water trap (cider can ferment again) and leave for 2-3 months to ripen.
Stage 5. Cider bottling
Remove the cider from the sediment, if any. Prepare the container. It is better to use darkened glass or plastic bottles, since ultraviolet light adversely affects the color and taste of cider. Bottles are better to sterilize or wash with special disinfectants, for example, from a beer shop. Before bottling the drink, you can correct: add more sugar or malic / citric acid. The container should be filled right under the neck, minimizing contact with oxygen, and then hermetically sealed. Such apple cider, if you did everything correctly, can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 years.
The traditional way to make homemade cider
Find the wildest apples and narvite the right amount. Let them ripen in a warm place. Squeeze the juice out of them with the help of a juicer, and throw out the pulp – we will not need it anymore (or make a mash from it for apple moonshine). Next, prepare the wine technology:
- Hold the juice under gauze for 2-3 days until the first signs of fermentation.
- Put fermented juice under the water seal for 3-4 weeks at a temperature of 20-27 o C, ensuring darkness and tranquility.
- After rapid fermentation, drain the cider from the sediment with a hose.
- Re-install the water seal and leave it in a dark room for 3-4 months at a temperature of 10-15 o C.
- Once again, remove from sediment and bottle.
Traditional apple cider has a small fortress, which depends heavily on the sweetness of the fruit. It is recommended to store it in an airtight container in a cool place, ideally in a cellar or refrigerator.
At the bottom of the bottle of real apple cider surely falls yeast sediment.
CKD Apple Cider Recipe
A more stable and interesting option is obtained with the use of CKD (pure yeast cultures), which are sold in wine or beer shops. Almost every such store has special cider yeast. Almost all champagne yeast, yeast for white wine and brewer’s yeast for light styles also proved to be very good. So, for the preparation of about 27-30 liters of delicious cider, we need:
- 75-100 kg of apples
- yeast cultures on 25 l of wort
- any feed for yeast (optional)
- 500 g sugar (optional)
How to cook apple cider with CKD:
- Rinse the apples well, cut off the wormholes and rotted spots. Squeeze the juice using a juicer or any other device. For such quantities, it is better to have a press for grapes. We need to get about 35 liters of juice, so the number of apples can be different.
- Pour juice into a fermentation tank, filling it no more than 4/5 of the volume. Dissolve the yeast in warm water or apple juice with 2 teaspoons of sugar and leave for 15-20 minutes in a warm place until they are activated (or according to the instructions on the pack). Add the prepared yeast to the juice. If desired, and the ability to add to the juice for yeast from the wine shop.
- Install a water seal on the fermentation tank and send it to a dark place at a temperature of 20-27 o C for 5-7 days. At this stage, there is a rapid fermentation, apple cake is to gather at the top.
- Using a hose, drain the wort from the bottom of the tank, getting rid of the cake from above. Rinse the fermentation tank with clean water and return the juice back by installing a water seal. Active fermentation with CKD will continue for another 7-10 days (much faster than with wild ones). Do not forget to maintain the optimum temperature for fermentation.
- When the signs of fermentation disappear, pour the cider from the sediment into a clean, dry container and send it to maturity in a cool place for 1-3 months. It is advisable to install a water seal. Once a month can be drained from the sediment.
And then cider can be carbonated …
How to make apple cider carbonated
Not always a cider with bubbles, but it is the carbonated beverage that is most popular. In Spain, in the Principality of Asturias, there is even such a ritual when non-carbonated cider is poured from a great height so that it is filled with air and has a sparkling taste like champagne (this ritual is called “escanciar un culín”). But we do not need such difficulties. Home-made cider is very easy to carbonate and make it a natural way. This technique is suitable for all recipes described above. Those 500 g of sugar, which are indicated in the last recipe with CKD, are exactly what are needed for this.
To naturally carbonate cider, do the following:
- After maturation and clarification cider must be bottled. Before that, each bottle of 0.5-0.7 liters should be added with 0.5 teaspoon of sugar for weak aeration and 1 teaspoon of sugar for strong. Of course, it is better to use fructose or dextrose (monosacchar).
- After adding sugar and pouring cider, the bottles should be securely sealed and left for 3-4 days in a warm place (this will give secondary fermentation, since the remaining yeast has just received a new food).
- After 3-4 days, cider in bottles must be placed in the refrigerator so that fermentation stops. Now carbonated cider will bring even more pleasure.
It should be remembered that secondary fermentation generates a large amount of carbon dioxide, which creates a serious pressure in the bottle. Therefore, the cork on the bottle should sit very firmly. As a safety net, if you decide to pour the entire cider into glass containers, pour a little beverage into plastic in order to control the carbonation of the beverage by swelling of the walls and not to miss the critical mass of carbon dioxide that can break the glass packaging.
How to drink homemade apple cider
Drink home cider should be at a temperature of 12-14 degrees, without smelling, watch savoring, color ratings and other nuances. In general, leave all the ceremony – just enjoy. Cider is also often used as an ingredient in cocktails, especially warming ones. In cocktails, cider is often replaced with champagne. If you drink the drink in moderation, then you can forget about the hangover. At the same time, if you knocked over a couple of cider cups in the pub yesterday, and in the morning you had all the syndromes of ailment, then it makes sense to ask a question: what did I actually drink?
Finally, a little educational program …
In Normandy, fermenting cider is mixed with young calvados, and in England with labig (apple), apple distillate (2 parts of wort and 1 part of calvados, labig), and then kept in oak barrels. This drink is called pomme (pommeau de normandie or pommeau bretagne) and should be drunk as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to melon and blue cheeses. Pommo fortress about 16-18%.