a gert dollop of apples...
a cider or perry drinker, you don't need to know
how it's made! But it's nice to know... We can even
give you some ideas about make your own; it's not
section of the website deals
with how to make cider and perry:
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a quick summary of the basic traditional process
for cider making:
- Harvest the apples - usually done during
the late autumn / early winter in the UK, depending
on the weather and apple varieties. Although not
essential, many cidermakers leave the apples in
storage for a week or two after harvesting to
improve the quality of the juice.
- Crush the apples - the apples are usually
sorted (to remove any bad fruit), then crushed
or milled into a pulp or pomace.
This is difficult to do without suitable mechanical
equipment, as apples are hard to crush effectively
- Extract the juice - the apple pulp has
to be pressed to extract the juice.
To do this, some of the pulp is made up into a
sort of parcel, often called a cheese,
made by wrapping some of the pomace in a cloth
and forming it into a (usually) flattish rectangular
slab shape. Depending on the size and type of
press, several cheeses are typically made on top
of each other on the bed of the press. There are
several types of press, but they all work on the
same principle, i.e. to exert pressure on the
apple pulp to squeeze out the juice. Some traditional
cider makers still use hand powered screw presses,
but many others use hydraulic or electric powered
presses. And no doubt someone out there still
uses steam power or horse power! Pulp may be pressed
more than once to extract the maximum amount of
- Ferment the juice - traditionally, the
juice is collected as the pulp is pressed and
poured or pumped into large fermentation vessels,
such as wooden vats or casks, and left to ferment
naturally. No yeast is added, and the wild yeasts
naturally present on the fruit do the job! Fermentation
is usually done at a low temperature and is a
slow process compared to brewing beer, typically
taking several weeks.
- Mature the cider - after completion of
fermentation the cider is racked into storage
vessels, e.g. casks and allowed to mature. It
will keep for a year or more, but can be drunk
- Drink the cider - that's where we cider
drinkers come in, so get your cider mugs ready...
The above is a basic simple description of the process
and there are many variations among different cidermakers.
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