By Peter Allen- “Pete the Permie”
In the last issue we looked at the proper English and French cider varieties, these are ideal for making single or mixed varietal ciders, but chances are the glut of fruit you have at home are the well known cooking or eating varieties.What do you need:a vessel to put the cider into, such as a beer brewing kit (these have a nice big opening at the top to make it easy for cleaning) a wooden barrel, a demijohn or a 20ltr plastic water container will do.Cider is only a 2 stage process vs. 8 for beer from scratch, apples should be left (about 2 weeks) till they are going wrinkly this increases the % sugar content which lifts your alcohol %, if you use a mix of eating and cooking you will get a reasonable balance of sugar and acid all you need to add is the tannin.
When I moved to our property “Telopea Mtn Permaculture” in Monbulk Vic in 1994 we started by planting about 100 fruit trees in our food forest/chook run immediately and then 50-100 more per year since. Friend’s commented “What will you do with all the surplus fruit” my reply was I would worry about that when I got there! 13 years later I am increasing the plantings as fast as I can to keep up production.
One of the lovely side issues with growing your own fruit at home is that you often end up with a surplus or lots of fruit that you cant sell, even at the local market, this may be due to bird pecks, codling moth affected, huge amounts of small fruit because you did not thin them when small or just plain ugly looking fruit. Don’t despair you have many options, one is to preserve or make jams and condiments but another is to turn this excess in to alcohol.
My first attempt with help from our friend Adam was to make plum wine; it was excellent, sweet and thick like port. I gathered I could do better sharing a bottle of wine with my friends than 1 kg of plums. Over the next two years we made 9 different wines from fruit and our first batch of cider, soon some of my old heritage varieties of apples starting to bear fruit and we had the opportunity to increase our production of cider using some of the old English and French proper cider apples.
How to make cider at home it is very easy just using a demijohn or a beer making outfit, details on how will be explained in Part 2 of this article next issue.
But first you need to gather the ingredients- ie. apples and good yeast.
Pete the Permie Copyright © 2019