Making Apple Cider with The Taylors
This past weekend, I got a treat as I was able to make my favorite fall treat… apple cider. Yum! Around 4pm on a rainy, cold Sunday I headed over to the Taylors to find them already hard at work washing bushels of apples Adam had picked. While the apples were native to West Virginia, they didn’t come from our immediate area as we lost this year’s apple yield to some late frost. Here’s a step-by-step account of how to make fresh apple cider:
1. Choose / pick the apples: Adam had picked a variety of apples and I soon discovered just how important they are in defining the taste of the cider. The first batch was really sweet; the second very tart. But when we put them together, they created a perfect combination. I would just experiment to find the best mix.
2. Prepare the apples: Give the apples a quick wash.
3. Crush or “scratter” the apples: The cider press that we used has a grinder; so, you just throw in the apples and hand crank away. Great upper body workout. The apple pulp (known as pomace or pommage) then falls into the lower basket which is lined with a pomace cloth ready for pressing.
4. Press the pulp: This involves turning another crank which lowers the lid which presses the pulp. Then out comes the cider ready for bottling.
5. Compost the pulp, or feed it to pigs, or…
6. Enjoy some fresh apple cider. Yum!
I was so surprised at how simple it was. And Rachel and I both agree, there is nothing better than old-fashioned, West Virginia cider squeezed from organic, sustainably grown, free range apples (or that’s how we are going to market it anyway…).