From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple interuptus

Now, where was I?

Oh yeah, trying to make cider.

After the first effort of juicing my own apples (big waste of time and effort - see previous cider post), I've elected to start with bottled sweet cider.

Saturday, buddy Dave and I went to Hartville where the apple-monger still had half-bushels of 2nds for $5.  Great.  There are more golden delicious in the box than I wanted, but - hey ho - it was all he had that day.   These are earmarked for applesauce so I can always add citric acid if the sauce gets too sweet.

But the big buy was 4 gallons ($7/each!) of sweet apple cider (pasteurized only, no additives at all).  I'm going to use it in my big CIDER EXPERIMENT.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, there are more pieces of equipment on the table.

Since I decided to make 4 gallons (instead of 2) I bought 2 more gallon glass jugs/lids/plugs/airlocks.  I also ponied up for the 6-gallon food-grade primary fermentation pail.  (I decided to quit nickel - diming this project.)

Also new: beaker to float the hydrometer,  and a bottle brush).

And remember that half-gallon of wild free-range apple juice that I DID manage to press myself and then froze?  Well, I'm going to heat pasteurize it myself and then ferment it separately.  To that effect I'm going to use a half-gallon canning jar as a jug, so I drilled a hole in the metal lid to fit a plug/airlock.  Neato, huh?

So today I start this circus.

I'll wash/sterilize the fermentation pail and cheesecloth cover, hydrometer (and beaker if I need it).  Clean clean clean.

Then I'll use the hydrometer to measure the gravity (sugar content) of the juice to give me a guesstimate of the potential alcohol of the lot.

(Oh, and I've decided, since the bottled cider has been heat pasteurized (no labeling that it was UV pasteurized) I'm going to NOT use any campden tablets in the pail.  There shouldn't be any wild yeasts to kill, and the less campden tablets, the less sulfites in the finished product.)

Then I'll activate the yeast (EC - 1118 a yeast good for mead and cider)  in a glass and when it's going strong, I'll pour it ("pitch") into the juice, stir, cover, and leave the pail in the basement to ferment for a week.  (I've learned cider wants COOL temps to ferment at 40-60F which prevents loss of flavors).

In fact, I'm going to set up the whole experiment IN the basement where temps are usually between 55 and 60 year round. Perfect cider conditions.

Time to start sterilizing.

Stay tuned.

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  1. Let the games begin!

    I will be following this one closely. Did you tally the cost of the equipment for me?

    Good luck.

    1. Yep. I've got a spreadsheet going. I'll send you an email....