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Homemade Apple Cider

Updated: Jun 10, 2020


Forget pumpkin spice lattes and make your own apple cider for this Fall season! One sip tastes like a whole bushel of apples exploding with crisp, sweet, and tart flavors!

Apple Cider is incredibly easy to make. If you have a blender or juicer and a week in advance time, this is something you could whip up one evening after putting the kiddos to bed (which is exactly what I did, ha!). This is the perfect Fall festivity for the whole family to take part in!

You really want to use either organic apples or ones from the farmer's market for this. Supermarkets actually spray a preservative on their apples to keep them fresh longer (seriously I've had apples still good after a month). For cider, however, you WANT them to go bad. The fermentation process is what makes cider....well, cider. Otherwise you just have apple juice, which is good too just not what we're after. To bring this back to Fall festivities for the whole family, why not include everyone in the apple picking process? You could pick your own off the tree or just pick them from the farmer's bin. Baby R is only 1 but she understood the simple act of pick an apple and put it in our basket and she enjoyed her task to the fullest. And you can't really go wrong with what type of apple either. For cider you want a whole smorgasbord of all different varieties. If making alcoholic cider (more on this later), you'll want to pick some type of crab apple as well as other apple varieties.

Most of the apple cider process is actually just waiting, which is the easy part and the one we all love besides actually drinking the cider. The slightly annoying part is the pressing of the apples. You can either use a blender and then press the juice out through a fine mesh cheesecloth or you can use a blender...and still press through a fine mesh cheesecloth. You want the liquid to be as smooth as possible and apples have a lot of little...things? I don't know what you want to call it but they're annoying and need extra cheesecloth love just to separate for good.

We did about a 1/2 bushel of apples which made about 1 gallon of apple cider and used a juicer for the process. We squeezed through the cheesecloth twice to get it nice and clean and then scooped the top foam-like stuff off. This takes the longest amount of time. After this, pour into a jug or other container NOT!!!!!!! metal. Can I stress that enough? NOT METAL. NOT METAL! Food grade plastic, ceramic, or glass for this! Metal can react with the fermentation process and ruin everything. And while we're on it, wood is not preferable either. Though why you have a wooden jug is beyond me but kudos to you for finding one.

To top your jug off, you'll want to either place a cheesecloth over top secured tautly with a rubber band or something. This is so air can get in and out but dust (and envious fruit flies) cannot. What we used is something called an air lock. I highly recommend these! They sell for I dunno, a dollar? And then you can start your wonderful weird hobby of fermenting other things! You should smell our basement, it's nice and sour and all the air locks are bubbling with life! Am I losing you? Okay, back to cider! If you're making alcoholic cider as mentioned before, you HAVE to use an air lock. This is not debateable. If you attempt to keep your cider fermenting past a week (in order to make alcohol) without an air lock, you could very well turn your hard earned cider into apple cider VINEGAR. But if that's what you want, then by all means. The last thing I'll say about alcoholic cider is that there is a ratio of apples to crab apples you need to make that really crisp apple cider taste remain. Otherwise, the flavor will become subdued as well as a possible vinegar danger. Therefore, be warned! And I do not know this ratio, so please google it!

For the rest of us folks, top your jug, put a date label on it so you don't forget when you bottled it, keep it OUT of the fridge and on the counter, and then wait a week! When a week comes, you can either put your cider into smaller bottles or keep it in the jug but place it in the refrigerator to stop the process. And there you have it! Baby R enjoys a cup of cider every morning with breakfast! Fermented foods and beverages are really healthy for your gut and you won't find these active cultures in your store bought cider since it's not actually fermented and alive! Your family can be part of this entire process and what's more fun than creating food together and enjoying it together? If you answered anything other than "nothing", then go back and review your aspirations. Enjoy!

What You'll Need/Ingredients:

Gallon sized jug or container (glass, ceramic, food grade plastic. NOT METAL)

Fine mesh cheesecloth

Juicer or Blender

1/2 bushel organic or farm apples (granny smith, macintosh, honey crisp, golden, etc. VARIETY OF ALL)

Air lock, optional but recommended

Large Bowl

Instructions:

1. Cut apples into chunks and either blend or juice in batches, pouring juice into bowl. If using a blender, pour mixture through cheesecloth into bowl.

2. Once all the apples have been juiced and poured into bowl, run juice through cheesecloth until smooth and nothing swimming around.

3. Use a large spoon to take off the foam top.

4. Pour juice into gallon sized jug and cap it with either an air lock or cheesecloth secured tautly with a rubber band.

5. Leave jug out on counter to get the fermentation process going. Wait one week and then transfer to smaller bottles or enjoy from the jug! Serve cold and crisp or warmed up with a cinnamon stick! Enjoy!

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