If you have an apple tree your garden and are dealing with a glut of apples an easy way to use them up is to make your own delicious apple cider.
Britain has a large number of tasty apple varieties and while many are good to eat raw, some varieties can be bitter or sharp to eat. If you have a heavily laden apple tree these can fall from the tree to rot on the ground, although some can be a handy food source for wildlife.
Historical studies have suggested that apples could be found growing wild during the Neolithic period, however, it was the Victorians who changed apple production in Britain. You can learn more about the history of apple trees in Britain in our historic guide.
Instead of allowing apples to go to waste this autumn, why not turn your abundance of apples into a refreshing, fermented drink to enjoy?
Making homemade cider is an easier process than you might expect and can be done at home using simple equipment.
With juice and strain, whole apples go in the juicer at one end and clear apple juice is drawn off at the other. It couldn’t be simpler and the whole process is relatively mess free.
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Once you’ve got your clear juice, simply add yeast and store in a vessel sealed from air by an airlock and you’ll have crystal-clear cider in a matter of weeks.
How to make your own cider
- Apples 8kg (18lb) per gallon, I make 40kg (88lb) batches
- Champagne yeast 5g (¼oz)
- Campden tablets for sanitising
- Sugar (optional, for making sparkling cider)
- Whole fruit juicer (the greater the wattage, the better. Ensure it has an outlet that will attach to a hose)
- Food-safe plastic hose 40cm (16in) long with 2.5cm (1in) internal diameter
- Spring clamp
- Fine straining bag 60 x 60cm (24 x 24in)
- 5 gallon open-top brewing bucket with a tap at the bottom
- Buckets 2 x 2 gallon
- 5 gallon carboy or 5 x 1 gallon demijohns
- Airlock(s) and rubber stopper(s)
- 1 pint measuring jug
Racking and bottling kit
- Rubber tubing for siphoning
- Siphon tap (optional, but helpful for pausing the flow between bottles)
- Serving tray (or any tray with a rim)
- Beer bottles (recycling boxes are full of them!)
- Crown-style bottle caps
- Hand-operated bottle capper