In most cases, cider is made by fermenting apple juice using wild yeast. But any other juice will do. For example, the pear cider technology is no different. This article will let you make homemade cider with apples or pure juice—two proven recipes. We’ll also go through the method of natural cider carbonation.
Cider is a still or carbonated apple wine, which was invented in France where it’s called “Cidre.” The methodologies of making these drinks are identical.
If the apples are very sour, bite your tongue and make you clench your teeth, you’d be better off lowering their acidity by diluting the juice with water (up to 100 ml per 1 liter). This being said, you should remember that adding sugar also lowers the acidity. If the acidity is okay, you don’t need water as it makes the final product watery and less tasty.
Homemade Apple Cider
You can combine different varieties of apples. The ideal ratio would be one part of sour apples mixed with two parts of sweet apples. Pear cider can be made using the same technology. If possible, you can mix pears and apples in equal proportions.
- Apples – 10 kilos
- Sugar – 1.5 kilo
- Water (in rare cases) – up to 1 liter
- Wine Yeast (If wild yeast did not work)
- Wipe the apples with a dry fabric (do not wash them) and leave them for 2-3 days in a warm room. There is wild yeast on their surface, and it will help fermentation, so it’s important not to wash it away. (if you washed them, or apples were already clean you will need Wine Yeast to start fermentation)
- Remove leaves and stems. Chop the apples along with peels and seeds in a blender or mincer until smooth.
- Wash a fermentation container with hot water and wipe dry. Fill it with milled apples up to two-thirds of its volume. For example, if you are using three-liter jars, you should put 2.5 kilos of apple puree per jar. This is required to leave enough space for foam and carbon dioxide.
- Add 100-150 grams of sugar per kilo of apples depending on the initial sweetness. The mash should turn out sweet but not too sweet. Stir.
- Tie the neck of the container with cheesecloth and leave for 3-4 days in a dark place with room temperature. Stir the contents every day, crushing the thick surface layer and drowning it in juice. After 8-16 hours, you’ll notice a characteristic fermentation smell, foaming, and a hissing sound. (If fermentation did not start – use Wine yeast)
- Squeeze juice from the apple mash and then decant it into a clean dry fermentation vessel. Then install an airlock.
Cider under a handmade airlock
A glove used instead of the airlock
- Homemade apple cider should ferment in a dark place at a temperature of 18-27°C for 30-65 days. Then sediment will form, the airlock will stop bubbling (the glove will deflate), and the drink will become noticeably brighter. This means that fermentation has stopped.
If fermentation doesn’t stop 50 days after the installation of the airlock, decant the cider into another container through a tube and leave it to ferment under the same conditions. This will help to prevent it from becoming bitter.
- Decant the fermented cider and strain it through 3-4 layers of cheesecloth.
- Bottle the filtered beverage (if you don’t plan to carbonate it, fill the bottles to the brim) and seal. Homemade cider can also be stored in cans sealed with caps.
- For three months, the beverage should age in a chilly place (6-12°C). Then you can proceed to degustation.
Cider after 60 days of aging
As a result, you’ll have honey-colored cider with a pleasant flavor and 7-12% ABV (which depends on the initial sweetness of apples). It goes down easy and in moderation does not cause a hangover.
Apple Sugar-Free Cider Made with Juice
This is a classic recipe from England and France, and it is definitely a ‘must try recipe’ for those who enjoy natural drinks as it has no added sugar.
Sugar-free cider technology:
- Let the squeezed juice settle for a day in a dark place at room temperature.
- Decant the juice into the fermentation container and install the airlock.
- Leave the container for 3-5 weeks in a dark place at a temperature of about 20-27°C.
- When fermentation is done decant the cider through a tube into another container without hitting the sediment at the bottom.
- If you don’t plan to carbonate your homemade drink, then you can seal the container and let it age for 3-4 months in a dark room at a temperature of 6-12°C.
- Filter once again, bottle, and seal. If stored in a fridge or cellar its shelf life is up to 3 years. Depending on the sugar content of the apples it has 6-10% ABV.
Aged cider without sugar
How to Make Carbonated Cider
Two recipes described above let you make a so-called still cider, which is actually simple apple wine. In order to enrich your cider with carbon dioxide you’ll have to do the following:
- After fermentation has stopped decant the cider.
- Prepare bottles (plastic or glass) by washing and wiping them dry.
- Put sugar at the bottom of each bottle (10 grams per 1 liter of volume). Sugar will cause a slight refermentation, which will result in the emission of carbon dioxide.
- Fill the bottles with cider, leaving 5-6 cm of free space at the top. Seal the bottles with caps or corks.
- Leave the bottles for 10-14 days in a dark place at room temperature. Check the pressure once a day.
Note. If the pressure is far too great, this will cause the bottles to explode. That’s why releasing excess gas in time is very important.
- Leave the carbonated cider in a fridge or cellar for 3-4 days before trying it.