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Homemade Apple Cider

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Yields just over 2 gallons

  • by Karen Solomon from web only

Making your own apple cider is admittedly pretty labor-intensive, but it can be a fun weekend project. Blending three varieties (look for whatever heirloom varieties are local to you) imbues the cider with a complexity and roundness that's more than the sum of its parts. At the farmer's market, you can score an apple bargain of ugly or mealy fruit, but avoid the rotten specimens fallen from the tree that are more bruise than flesh.

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  • 10 lb. each (30 lb. total) of three ripe apple varieties, such as Fuji, Honey Crisp, Candy Crisp, Arkansas Black, or Red Delicious, washed and stemmed

Line a large colander or sieve with a thin, clean dishtowel (linen or cotton, not terrycloth, works best).  Line a tall bucket with a clean plastic garbage bag, and then place a large bowl at the bottom of the bucket inside the bag to catch the juice. Rest the cloth-lined strainer on top of the bucket. (Alternatively, place a rack over a large bowl with the cloth-lined strainer on top. The point is to leave room to collect as much juice in the bowl as possible.)

Quarter and core the apples, leaving the skins intact. Chop the apples, then, working in batches, puree the apples in a food processor with 1/3 cup water per batch. Blend for 1 minute, scrape down the sides, then blend for 1 minute longer. The apples should be completely pulverized.

Pour each batch of apple puree (or mash) into the lined strainer. Allow the cider to drip through to the bowl beneath, stirring and pressing on the mash periodically to help release as much cider as possible. Continue with this process until all of the apples have been juiced.  (The cider will darken as you work.)

Bring together all four corners of the dishtowel and twist into a hard ball to squeeze out any remaining cider. (Note: if the bowl fills during juicing, pour the cider into another holding vessel. A second dishtowel may also come in handy if you yield an excess of mash.)  Unwrap the towel, stir the mash, and then twist and squeeze again a couple more times to express all the cider.

Refrigerate the apple cider immediately and drink it fresh within five days. Or, to keep the cider longer, boil it over high heat to 160°F to pasteurize it. Store for up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  For longer-term storage, freeze the cider, being careful to leave 1/2-inch of headspace in each container to allow for expansion of the liquid. This will preserve the cider for up to 1 year.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Shame on those who gave 1 star, if you dont get the concept that this is written for those who have apple trees thus an abundance of fruit then thats fine but dont punish the author because you pay $2 per pound. fyi I paid $150 and now have 6 apple trees and more fruit than I can use year after year. Pruning is your friend in small yards like mine, 6ft tall 5ft wide each.

I think this is a great idea for those of us with lots of apples to deal with, particularly heirloom varieties and no cider press. Of course, you would never go to the grocery store and buy 30 lbs of apples. Why not a local farmers market, or a "pick-your-own" apple orchard where apples can go for as little as .40 cents/lb.! A great weekend project.!

I agree with the last poster. I was thinking the exact same thing. Its interesting but the cost is really over the top.

I love your recipes. When I saw this one I was a little surprised by the suggestion of making your own apple cider. At an average of $1.99/ lb for apples this recipe doesnt make very good financial sense. Requiring 30lbs of apples to make 2 gallons of cider would make the cost of the homemade cider well over $30 per gallon! In today's economy what average American family can afford to pay $30 a gallon for apple cider?

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