This past Saturday, the boys (all three of them) and I spent the afternoon (5.5 hours to be exact) on my dad’s acreage doing a variety of activities, which will all be featured in a post later, but…for today’s Tasty Tuesday, I’m going to explain the process of making homemade apple cider! Oh, it’s soooo good!
My dad and step-mom had been given an old fashioned apple press by her uncle last year. This year, they decided to venture into the world of making homemade apple cider and taught us how this past weekend. From their research along with trial and error, they’ve discovered that you have to use a combination of red & green apples to get the perfect flavor.
They have lots of green apples on their farm and got some reds from a friend. Then, they purchased an apple crusher from eBay. You place whole apples into the crusher, which breakers them up into very small pieces (crushed, if you will, which makes pressing the juice out easier). It’s actually quite interesting and the boys loved cranking the crusher. Typically, this was R’s job as M would then run the press with my dad (I must add here, the boys affectionately call my dad the Grizzly Bear).
Once enough apples are crushed, they are ready for the press. It’s amazing to me that the juice starts to flow at the moment you pour the crushed apples into the press. Then, it’s just a matter of cranking the press while the cider pours out the spit at the bottom. The whole process smells amazing.
Once the apples are all pressed, we took them inside to strain out the small chunks. (We don’t have a wire strainer, so there are still some fine pieces in ours, but I’m okay with that, it’s pretty amazing the way it is.) Then, bottle it up! Of course, you can add sugar and spices, which my folks tried, but they admitted that it was better in it’s pure form! We agree!! The cider is good for about a week before it has to be frozen or dumped out as we don’t pasteurize it! I’ve drank several glasses cold and one hot! It’s yummy either way! It’s not as sweet or syrupy as the store bought cider and has a thicker consistency. My step-mom made some apple cider jelly with a batch and I have to say, that’s pretty tasty too! So, here’s the recipe from Mother Earth News. She did not add the Elderberry, but we still think it’s pretty great!
Apple Cider-elderberry Jelly
1 box commercial pectin
3 cups apple cider
1 1 /2 cups elderberry juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 pounds sugar
Mix the pectin with the juices in a large pan and heat quickly to a hard boil. Add sugar at once and bring the solution to a full rolling boil. Then boil hard for one minute, remove from heat, skim off foam, pour into glasses, and seal.
Since this is a farm, we reuse as much as possible, which means the laying hens get a treat after we empty the apple press! Making cider isn’t near as hard as I thought it would be and so much tastier than store bought stuff! . I guess that’s all part of Learning As I Go!
Read more about apple cider and other apple related topics at: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/make-apple-cider-zmaz76soztak.aspx#ixzz3FJmp7mU6