On a lighter topic, I thought I would repost an article I wrote for the local village rag nearly two years ago on Cider making. It was before we got too proficient and started to know what we were doing! Enjoy….
Now installed as a village institution after only its second year. This years three Sundays of social cider production were well attended, highly enjoyable and yielded a combined total of 75 litres of fermenting apple juice.
Thanks to all who attended and made what should be fairly hard work a lot of fun and amusement. The second, main production day, was attended by nearly 30 volunteers who all got stuck in and produced a barrel of apple juice in just over an hour and a half; a village record. The crop of apples this year was excellent, so there are high hopes for the quality and potency of the finished brew.
For those with a technical curiosity, there were several new pieces of equipment to assist us this year.
Firstly was the apple picker, 5 metre pole with a fruit collector and bag at the end to assist in the collection of the best apples at the top of the trees:
Secondly was the Apple crusher or “scratter” to give its technical term, this replaced a dilapidated bucket with drill blade attachment which ceased operation after a couple of hours the first year, only to be replaced by several donated food processors:
And last but by no means least a Hydrometer for testing the alcohol content of the finished brew:
By testing the specific gravity (density) of the freshly squeezed juice and comparing that to the reading for the finally fermented cider, you can calculate through a simple formula the amount of sugar that has been turned into alcohol and therefore determine the alcohol content of the finished product. We have yet to see whether I have the skills to do this feet of mathematics!
Once the brewing has completed, the first 25 litre barrel will be bottled at the end of November ready for the Christmas festivities. The second and third barrels will be bottled around April time ready for the summer social calendar.
Cider will be donated to many good causes including Art Weeks and the Flower show as well as community activities such as Film Nights. While we cannot sell the cider, it is possible to give it away in raffles or for a small donation to a relevant fund, hopefully improving the village funds used to support the many enjoyable events held each year. Also, each contributor will get a share for personal consumption and excess will be used to support several parties and other upcoming events.
While we wait patiently for the finished product to make an appearance, I have enclosed a photo of last years bottled cider in anticipation.
Happy cider drinking fellow villagers