Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Cider, actually Cidre making from crab apples

Autumn or fall as our US fellows say is a rather busy time for home making. Veggies are fully grown, animals are fat and hedgerows are full of delicious fruits. So are the crab apples.

Yesterday on a stroll along the Essex coast I found some apple trees. It was rather fast filling up a 12 ltr bucket with small but delicious different varieties. I did read already before that how to make cider and I also was fortunate to have bought a cider press on ebay in spring when they are much cheaper compared to autumn.

Coming home I soaked the apples in campden tablets. After that I cut them in quaters and meshed them with a thick rolling pin while I added another tablet. It prevents browning/oxidation and sterilises. That was by far the worst and time intense job and I will definitely buy a masher - next spring of course. It is also the most important step as you will gain much more juice if properly done.

The pressing process is straight forward. just pop it into a muslin bag and into the press, start turning the spindle and the juice starts flowing. Take off the bag, put it bag upside down and do it again. You also can fill a trial jar and check the specific gravity with your hydrometer. My turned out to be 1.005 which is more sugar content than i expected and it will give me an approximate alcohol content of 6.75%

Because of the high alcohol i decided to make cidre instead of cider. I am not exactly sure what the difference is but i reckon it is the added yeast which will. for cider you will use a beer or ale based yeast whereas in the french brother which i am going to do i will use a wine based yeast which in my case is young's super compound. It already contains some nutrients for a better growth of the yeast. You also could use bread yeast or champagne yeast. The choices are endless. Whichever you use give the fresh juice a day just to wait until the campden tablets have evaporated otherwise the yeast will die.

However long it takes until the yeast has fermented, cider or cidre does not really improve after bottling and should be drunk within six month.

Expenses: I am not counting the equipment, the yeast is £1.

Happy brewing!


  1. Thanks for interesting article. It is good to get different ideas for Apples apart from pies and apple juices. And the time is right with all unwanted apples.
    Cidre sounds better than cider whatever difference it is. But from your article i understand its Cidre when higher alcohol

    Yes it must have been a hard and intense"labour" without a masher but looking at it in a different way you will appreciate the Cidre more recalling all the hard work :)
    Hope the cidre taste good and enjoy it.

  2. Enjoying your blog (which I found via the beekeeping forum) - look forward to reading more. Thanks :-)