Apple cider and fall – is there a better drink on a cool fall evening than a cup of warm apple cider flavored with cinnamon?
My husband’s family has a long tradition of making apple cider each fall. His aunt and uncle have apple trees. This year, they picked 11 bushels of apples which made 20 gallons of cider deliciousness.
Once the apples are picked, they must be washed and any bad spots are cut out. These side by side tubs worked great to put sweet apples on one side and tart on the other. The water was changed out every couple of batches.
The mixture is two sweet apples with one tart apple – that’s it! The tart apples are Jonathan and the sweet apples are Red and Yellow Delicious.
After being washed, the entire apple goes in to be shredded – seeds, stems, peel, and all. Once there are enough apples, a lid is put on and the apple mash is pressed for the cider to run out. As the liquid flows out, the mash can be pressed down further. It takes a little time to release the juice. We got about one gallon of cider per batch of pressed apples.
There’s a net bag inside the bucket that keeps the apple mash contained. Once all the juices flow out, the mash was removed, and we’d start a new batch.
As the cider flowed from the apple mash, we would alternate pitchers to collect the cider. Then the cider is strained through a thin fabric, such as a tea towel. The straining collects any small chucks of apple that came through the press.
The cider is good for 2-3 weeks stored in the refrigerator or can be frozen to enjoy later.
This year making apple cider was bittersweet. My hubby’s grandma always enjoyed making cider. She passed away last winter so it was the first year without her there to strain the cider. Our family gathered in the evening to enjoy supper together.