|Posted by Angela Diaz on February 5, 2014 at 8:25 PM|
My newest experiments have involved apples. I went to the Cherry Hill Orchards outlet store and purchased three bushels of apples. Each bushel was a different variety of apple. I bought one bushel of Cameo apples, one bushel of Pink Lady apples, and one bushel of Stayman apples. I heard you should use at least three different varieties of apples to make a good cider. Three bushels should be enough to conduct experiments with. As of today I have made 2 gallons of apple cider, 6 pints of apple slices for pies, and 6 pints of apple sauce. I still have plenty more apples to put up. Maybe I'll make another gallon of cider, another few pints of apple sauce and a few more pints of apple slices. The three bushels cost me $36 and I already feel like I got my money's worth.
Today I'll just be going over my process of making apple cider. I've learned a lot from making my first gallon and the next day when I made my second gallon, the process went so much more smoothly. As it is with all things, you learn as you go and tweak your process to make it better the next time.
First, I went onto Craigslist and found a juicer new in the box for $40.
I washed and cut up about 12 apples. I figured out how many of each apple to cut up to make a half gallon. I won't share that number because the size and type of apple you use makes all the difference in the world so I don't want to lead you astray. The Cameo apples I got are very large so out of the 12, only three of them were Cameo. Not only were they sliced in traditional wedges, but I also cut those wedges in half cross-wise because I found out that sometimes when I put the wedges in the juicer shoot, they get wedged (ha ha, wedges get wedged!) in because they don't always stay straight and get knocked sideways.
I have one large mixing bowl of the half wedges, a large measuring cup to catch the juice, a gallon sized mason jar with a canning funnel in the mouth of it and a small strainer inside that. I put a kitchen towel under the juicer to catch any leaks, messes that may occur (learned this from my first experience).
The juicer is so easy to operate, I had my little one help out.
From this point, just keep tossing the apples in the juicer and when the large glass gets full, pour it through the strainer and into the half gallon mason jar. At this point, I disassemble the juicer and give it a quick wash. I've learned that it can get clogged up and start leaking out the sides when too much apple pulp covers the majority of the holes.
I filtered the apple cider a second time by putting a cheesecloth in the strainer. The jars got placed in the freezer for later use. Making apple cider is easy and the taste of course depends on the apples you use. I will be using different apples the next time I make this recipe. I used a lot of very sweet and somewhat tart apples so the cider is very strong. Next time I'll throw in a few of my not-so-favorite bland varieties to balance out the taste.