Making Apple Cider

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UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE COLLEGE OF FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES in cooperation with the COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES MAKING APPLE CIDER Drinking fresh apple cider is a great way to warm up after raking autumn leaves. Making it yourself at home can be an even greater treat. People have been enjoying cider since at least 55 BC, when Romans arrived in England and found locals drinking a cider-like liquid. Later, English settlers introduced cider to
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  Drinking fresh apple cider is a great way to warm upafter raking autumn leaves. Making it yourself athome can be an even greater treat.People have been enjoying cider since at least 55 BC,when Romans arrived in England and found localsdrinking a cider-like liquid. Later, English settlersintroduced cider to America by bringing apple seedsspecifically for cider production.In the United States, fermented alcoholic apple juiceis called hard cider, while freshly pressed, non-alcoholic cider is called sweet cider. Cider is madefrom fermenting apple juice, which relies on naturalyeast present in the apples for fermenting.Fresh or unpasteurized apple juice or cider can causefood borne illness from bacteria. The directions below are for making and storing apple cider safely. Selection of Apples Apples used for cider don't have to be flawless.They do, however, have to be free from spoilage.You can use blemished apples and small sizedapples. You can mix apple varieties together or useall one variety. The only rule is to cut out anyspoilage areas on otherwise good apples.Spoiled areas will cause the juice to ferment toorapidly and will ruin the cider. Don't use applesthat appear brown, decayed or moldy . Apples should be firm and ripe. Green,undermature apples cause a flat flavor when juiced.The best cider comes from a blend of sweet, tartand aromatic apple varieties. Abushel of applesyields about 3 gallons of juice. Getting Ready Before juicing apples, sort and wash apples wellunder clean running water. Discard spoiled apples.Core and cut the apples into quarters or smaller  pieces. UNIVERSITYOF GEORGIACOOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE COLLEGE OF FAMILYAND CONSUMER SCIENCESin cooperation with the COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURALAND ENVIRONMENTALSCIENCES Fruit Press   _____________________________________________________________________  MAKING   APPLE   CIDER  2 Wash glass jars or bottles that will be used to holdyour pressed apple juice in warm, soapy water. Rinsethoroughly so no soap remains.Prepare a clean muslin sack or jelly bag for juicingthe apples. If using a new muslin sack or pillowcase,wash first to remove any sizing. Be sure all soap isrinsed out. An old, but absolutely clean pillowcasewill work.Always, as with any food preparation, start bywashing your hands and forearms thoroughly with hotwater and soap for at least 20 to 30 seconds before beginning preparation of the product. Utensils andequipment can be easily sanitized after washing andrinsing by filling with or soaking in a mixture of 1tablespoon household bleach per gallon of warmwater for at least 1 minute. Juicing Apples Small household appliances can be used to juiceyour apples. Apples should be cored and cut and then processed through a food chopper, blender or food processor. Put the crushed apple pulp into a cleanmuslin sack, or jelly bag, and squeeze out the juice.If you want to drink the juice now without makingcider, pasteurize it by heating to at least 160 degreesFahrenheit. Then, pour juice into clean glass jars or  bottles and refrigerate.For larger quantities, consider using a fruit press.Follow the directions that accompany your press for  juicing apples. Making Sweet Cider Begin with freshly pressed juice (not pasteurized). If clear cider is what you want, let the bottled cider stand at 72 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 4 days.Clean bottles should be filled to just below the brimand stoppered with new, clean cotton plugs instead of a regular lid or cap. The cotton plug is used for safety.If pressure builds up during the fermentation thatoccurs, the cotton will pop out and release the pres-sure. If a cap is placed on the bottle, the bottle willexplode.After 3 or 4 days, sediment will begin settling onthe bottom as fermentation bubbles rise to the top. Now is the time to stop fermentation if you wantsweet, mild cider. Extract the clear liquid from thesediment by racking off the cider. Racking off is done by inserting one end of aclean rubber tube, about 3 feet long, into the liquidand sucking at the outer end with your mouth, like astraw. As soon as you feel liquid in your mouth, pinchoff your end with your fingers and insert the tube intoan empty, clean and sterilized bottle, which should be placed well below the filled one. Liquid will flowfrom one bottle into the other, leaving the sediment behind.Pasteurize the cider to ensure its safety by heatingto at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Store the cider inthe refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower anddrink within 5 days. Freeze, after pasteurization, for longer storage.  Fermenting Dry orHard Cider If you are seeking a dry cider, with more ‘zip’or  bite’to it, ferment the cider longer at room tempera-ture. Use an air lock, a curlicue glass cork, as your  plug instead of cotton wool. (This can be purchased athome brewing supply stores.) If you can't locate asupply store, substitute three-thicknesses of cleanmuslin, tightly stretched over the bottle opening andsecured well around the neck. Be sure to use strong,sound glass or the bottle may burst from pressure dueto the increasing fermentation.In about 10 days the cider will begin looking quitefrothy and may foam over the top. This is normal,simply wipe off the bottle, replace the muslin withclean fabric and let frothing continue until the foam-ing stops fermentation is complete.Fermentation turns all the sugars in the cider intoalcohol; therefore, this cider will no longer be a sweetdrink. The cider is dry, or hard, alcoholic cider. Pasteurizing and Storing Cider Unpasteurized, or fresh, cider may contain bacteriathat cause illness, such as  E. coli O157:H7  or Salmonella. Harmful bacteria must be killed by a pas-teurization process prior to drinking the cider.To pasteurize, heat cider to at least 160 degreesFahrenheit, 185 degrees Fahrenheit at most. Measurethe actual temperature with a cooking thermometer. Itwill taste less ‘cooked’if it is not boiled. Skim off thefoam that may have developed and pour the hot cider into heated, clean and sanitized plastic containers or glass jars. Refrigerate immediately.To freeze, pour hot cider into plastic or glass freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace for expansion.Refrigerate until cool and then place in the freezer. 3  Aglass or plastic fermentation lock -a curlicue stopper-fits into the neck of thebottle and prevents air from contaminating thecider while allowing fermentation gasses toescape. Tips for Safe Homemade Apple Cider  4 Avoid using apples that have visible signs of decay or mold growth. 4 Wash apples thoroughly before pressing or grinding to make cider. 4 Use a fruit press or small kitchen appliances to crush the fruit. 4 Start by washing your hands and sanitizing equipment. Place washed and rinsed utensils andequipment in a mixture of 1 tablespoon household bleach per gallon of water for at least 1 minute. 4 Squeeze juice through a clean, damp muslin cloth. 4 Pasteurize cider to ensure safety. Heat to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit and pour into warm jars toprevent breakage. 4 Store cider in the refrigerator for immediate use, or up to 5 days. Put cider in the freezer if you want tokeep it longer. 4 Be sure to use strong, sound glass bottles that will not break during fermentation. Caution: Young children, elderly and immunocompromised individuals should never drink freshapple cider unless it has been heated to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  4 Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Extension Foods Specialists The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University,the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating.The Cooperative Extension Service and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciencesoffer educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national srcin, age, sexor disability. An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action OrganizationCommitted to a Diverse Work Force  _________________________________________________________________________________________  FDNS-E-91November2003  _________________________________________________________________________________________  Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.Gale A. Buchanan, Dean and Director  Turning Apple Cider into Vinegar  To turn apple cider into vinegar you simply allow the cider to ferment past thestages of sweet cider and dry cider until it becomes vinegar.Pour the strained, fresh apple juice into a clean crock, dark-colored glass jar or jug.Be sure to leave 25 percent of the container empty to allow for foaming during fer-mentation. Cover thecontainer with something that will keep dust and insects out but will let air in, such asa triple layer of cheesecloth, or clean tea towel. Stretch the material over the top of the jar and tie it tightly with a string. Store the juice in a cool, dark place, like anunheated basement or garage. Fermentation will take from 4 to 6 months.After 4 months, remove the cover and taste the vinegar. If it is strong enough, strainit through a triple layer of cheesecloth. Then heat the vinegar to 170 degreesFahrenheit and hold it at that temperature for 10 minutes. Pour into bottles and sealwith caps or lids. If the vinegar is too weak, after the first 4 months, test it every weekuntil desired flavor is derived.While vinegar is fermenting, a jelly-like layer forms on top that is called the “mother of vinegar.” The mother is trapped and removed during straining. It can be carefullysaved and refrigerated for use as a starter with your next batch of vinegar. Caution: Homemade vinegars should not be used for home canned pickledfoods. It will not have the same carefully controlled acidity as store boughtvinegars.
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