Fermenting Cider

Hidden in a corner of the house, 11 gallons of apple cider are turning into hard cider. Hopefully this 3rd attempt tastes even yummier than the previous 2.

On this fast-forwarded gif, you can see the different rates of fermentation. Fruit flies are attracted to CO2 (the byproduct of fermentation coming out of the air lock). That’s why I attach an extra piece of paper towel to make sure they don’t find their way into the lock through the tiny holes.

Round 2 – Another 10 Gallons

I spent some time Saturday picking up apples and it quickly filled another trailer. So here came another cider pressing day. We unfortunately didn’t manage this day too well, being overly ambitious with canning AND pressing. It was too much to tackle so I was left pressing by myself which is physically demanding. Washing, moving water, crushing, moving apples, pressing. It’s a lot. The day quickly went from another nice pressing day to an endurance test. Not a big deal, just a different mindset.

And because I was very busy, I barely got to take pictures. So let’s just say for the record that we made another 10 gallons of cider. For a total of 24 gallons this year, the most we’ve ever done.

Our compost pile was improved with a lot of organic matter: all the refuse from the pressed apples.

As for the few leftover apples, they were also composted, mechanically.

We set 5 gallons to ferment with maple syrup and honey. Canned 3 gallons so the kids can get non-alcoholic apple juice out of season. And now we have to decide what to do with the rest before it ferments of its own volition.

All in all it has been a very good season. “It has” because the trees are almost done, and I most certainly am.

14 gallons in 1 day

We’ve been gathering apples for the past few weeks, waiting for a cold day to press outside without yellow jackets. And well, the weather has just been too nice lately, no colder days in sight so we went and pressed it all. We did it inside the sugarhouse, space is a little tight but we can close the doors and that was immensely helpful.

Bins and trailers full of apples

Cider making is another area where we are really starting to know what we’re doing. The day was full of hard work but not stressful at all. We know how to avoid yellow jackets, how to set up and use the press proficiently, we brush hogged bellow the apple trees right before the season, picked apples at more frequent intervals. Everything is better prepared and better handled. And the result is 14 gallons of cider in 1 day, for a lot of work but certainly much less work than previous years. Experience is a very nice thing to have.

After washing the apples, we crush them

Then we press them

8 gallons, more in the fridge.

3 friends stopped by and left with cider, and we gave a half gallon to a neighbor. All vaccinated, all outside, feels nice.

The sugarhouse is very multipurpose, Robin is staining shingles while we get the press ready.