Pressing Apples and Pitching Yeast; the Hard Cider is Bubbling
One night back in August, our good friend Devin came over for dinner and a few drinks. We were probably talking about the barn or some other happiness and he must have forgotten who he was talking to, as he said he’d really like to make some hard cider some day.
Well, I am incredibly impulsive and Ryan is a very good sport. So while Devin was still talking cider, I was online researching, being egged on by Well Preserved, firing off emails to arrange to go apple picking at the farm and had found a press on craigslist that we drove to pick up two nights later. Phew.
So jump ahead a month from our lovely and impulsive drive to Keswick, Ontario. We bought our amazing press from an Italian wine maker with a killer vegetable garden and now we’re at the farm. Sigh. The farm and its amazing apple trees that are having an amazing season in Prince Edward County. Sigh.
We came home with 8 bushels of apples. Home to Toronto, the racoon capital of the world. We stored the apples out on the deck so they would benefit from the cold temperature at night. Every morning I woke up and opened 8 giant rubbermaid tubs of apples and every night I tried to remember to close them back up. Hilarity, with much broom shaking at racoons and squirrels.
Then the organic cranberries went on sale post Thanksgiving. So I bought 8 pounds. Now we’re on to something.
So on a nice chilly Thursday morning in October, while the neighbours were all at work, Devin, Ryan, and I ate some apple crisp, set up the camera (we did all meet in film class) and started cutting apples.
So many apples. 6 bushels went towards cider, so 250 pounds in all.
Honestly, we didn’t have a clue what we were are doing despite two months of research now and a bad test run in September.
After a ton of trouble shooting, we have the first real flow of cider!
Most importantly, it’s freakin’ fantastic!
We had a hard time for the first little bit. We needed to chop things much finer than we had thought. Next year we’ll build a grinder contraption. My poor poor food processor. At least we had help.
Another mistake I made was that I had froze some chopped apples to protect them from the beasts. The cold is supposed to help with the taste but they really needed to thaw before we pressed them, Frozen apples turn into hard masses that are colder than the universe when you press them. It’s dreadful.
After some trouble shooting we finally hit on a combination of cheese cloth, pressure, non napping toddler, and unfrozen apples that led to beautiful flowing cider.
And a good time was had by all!
So after a taste, it all went in my grandfather’s carboy along with some camden tablets. Two days later we added a champagne yeast starter and things are bubbling away happily.
The idea that started in August, led to a bunch of fun in September, is well on it’s way to fruition in October, for bottling in November, to hopefully drink and share in December. All because Devin wanted some cider.
We’ll be writing a little more about our actual process and organic / non GMO home brewing in the next few weeks but in the meantime here’s an another time lapse:
This 3 minute video covers 8 hours of apples. My favourite part is the oozing of apples from the first press (this should not have happened). Others like how the toddler keeps getting more clothes, how the dog is eating way too many apples and how we clearly stopped to eat lunch and dinner. What’s your favourite part? And is there anything you want to know?