Hard Cider: Part Deux

21 11 2010

I learned a lot about the home brew process in part one of our cider-making frenzy. Things like, you don’t need to wear a billowy white shirt to drink cider; and apple presses are very expensive. Part two was equally as exciting and informative, though not as labor intensive. Seriously, chopping all those apples during round one took an eternity. This time the process was faster, and we got to use plastic tubing, a booze-o-meter, and the most exciting tool of all: the bottle capper. OMG the bottle capper.

In my excitement, I dragged Becky Jones with me to Morgan’s house. She was in town for a visit, and I thought it was extremely important that she be privy to at least part of the event. Thanks Morgan! Did I thank you yet for hosting both of us? And did I thank you for sharing your amazing apple butter? Holy cannoli, that Morgan can make some serious apple butter. It was so good that I didn’t want to eat the jar she gave me, because then it would be gone. But I digress.

Part Deux was bottling day. It started with a lot of sterilization, which apparently prevents the dreaded off-flavor. Kristi sterilized the plastic tubing that we would later connect to the 5-gallon bucket into which we had transfered the cider. Morgan had sterilized bottles waiting for us. After the tubing was connected (it had this extraordinary device on the end that resembled a hamster water bottle nipple), we got ourselves going, assembly-line style. One person handed bottles to the bottler, the bottler filled them by inserting the hamster-water-bottle-nipple-end of the tubing into the bottle and pressing down, and then we had two cappers. Have you ever used a bottle capper? If you haven’t, you really must. Even if you don’t have anything to bottle, you should give it a whack. It is so satisfying.

Why didn't I take any pictures of the bottle capper?

Oh, the booze-o-meter! I almost forgot. Of course we wanted to know how boozy our cider was. This is where we used the booze-o-meter (official name: hydrometer). I don’t remember exactly how it worked, but the basic idea, I think, is this: you float it in your brew, and how floaty it is will give you an idea of how boozy it is. I think it has something to do with the amount of CO2 in the cider. But I am often full of my own pseudo-scientific information (For instance, if you don’t exercise each day, your skin will turn orange because of stagnant blood! ). I would have done very well as a doctor in the 1700’s.

The most important thing of all this is how it turned out, right? Well, after we bottled it, the cider had to sit for a week or two, a time period during which you must be aware of exploding bottles. Like I need anything else to worry about, right? Botulism in my jam, finger pieces in my cider, exploding bottles. No wonder I am getting a grey streak in my bangs.

I tried my first bottle a week or two ago. It was delicious! Appropriately boozy, appley, and altogether autumnal. I really, really want to try this again, maybe with cherries or something added to the apples? We also discussed making pear cider. But giant windfalls of pears are harder to come by here in Colorado. What else can you turn into cider, I wonder? Any fruit? Well, I’ll be looking into it, for sure.

Our cider army.

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3 responses

29 11 2010
Jen

Hi Christie! So clicking around, and see random stuff, and then linking to this and that, I saw the link for your site.

That’s so funny to see you making cider – my husband just made cider too. He home brews beer too and decided to make some cider to try it out. And I’ve been making apple butter and thinking of moving on to jam. I bet you could make cider with any fruit …

3 12 2010
stephchows

OMG you always crack me up!!! I bet it’s going to taste amazing!!! And after reading part one I don’t know what made me laugh harder… the cider tasting like fingers… or the mashing apples with a bible HAHAHAHA. Priceless!

So glad you are up for the cookie exchange! No botulism scares this time 🙂 And so great your friend is joining too!!

8 12 2010
christie133

Jen, so funny! I hope his turns out well. I can’t wait to make it again next year. And jam is laughably easy! I think I’m going to try to make some cranberry jam this weekend! I love making jam. It makes me feel like a prairie woman. 🙂

Steph, I can’t wait for the exchange! Now, must search for exchange-worthy recipe!

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