Cider making trial run

It’s not reaaaally full-on apple season yet, but I’ve had a few boxes of apples and pears sitting in my garage for a couple of weeks now, and the pears were starting to go a bit manky, so we decided to try the press out and use up what we had, and collect more apples later for another try.


We got out the apples, press, shredder, jack and demijohns, cleaned everything down with water and then with trigene to disinfect, and cleaned the demijohns with sodium metabisulphite. All ready to go!


I am so glad we have the shredder, if cider-making involved hitting apples in a bucket with a big stick, I’m not sure I’d bother with it. As it is, the shredder makes light work of the apples.

We put the apple goo into muslin parcels using a frame, and then stacked them up. It worked ok, but the pile kept sliding to one side. We did get some juice though!

Our first juice!

In the end we decided it just wasn’t wanting to work the way we planned, so the easiest way to fix it was to get some plastic tubs that nested inside each other, drill holes in the sides and bottom, and use these to stack the apple pulp in.

This worked much better, so I’m going to look out for some metal baskets that nest inside each other, or maybe just a large metal wastebasket, and hopefully next time will be even easier.

We got 3.5 gallons of juice in the end. We could have had more with extra pressing, but there are so many more apples where these came from it hardly seemed worth it, and the chickens and the compost heap will enjoy the leftovers.

The first demijohn had a tablespoon of tea and a teaspoon of citric acid added, then an airlock put on, and I am hoping the natural yeasts will take care of that and make it yummy. The other 3 had the same tea and acid added, but also a campden tablet to kill anything existing in there, and I’ll add my own yeast in a day or two. The demijohn that wasn’t quite full will have blackberry juice added…at the moment the blackberries I picked a few days ago are sitting in a bowl with boiling water and some sugar. The demijohns are all sitting happily in the hallway with the mead (and yes, i really do need to vacuum the hall carpet…eek!)

And finally I bottled the elderberry wine that has been sitting in a demijohn for 2 years. Well, not the same demijohn, I did rack it off so it wasn’t sitting on sediment. I had a quick taste and it wasn’t unpleasant, but it was a bit harsh…hopefully a while in bottles to mellow will do the trick.

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