You’ve spent the day outside in the chilly Autumn weather raking the countless leaves that fell from the large oak tree in your front yard. You created the perfect piles only for the dogs to run through them, and you loved every second of it.
You take off your jacket and walk into your kitchen to the smell of fresh apple cider. The cider warms the glass and a part of your soul as you slowly sip the hot liquid. It’s a delicious treat, but few people know about how to make apple cider and its health benefits.
Swans Trail Farms is an expert in apple cider and family fun. We’ll explain the best way to make this hot beverage and why it’s great for you too.
Long before we were making fresh apple cider at Swans Trail Farms, locals in England drank something similar. When the Romans invaded, they loved the liquid. When English settlers came to America, they brought seeds from specific varieties of apples just to make cider.
It’s been a staple In America, especially here at Swans Trail Farms, ever since. If you don’t want to purchase our freshly pressed cider and want to make it home, don’t worry, we have you covered.
There are so many apple varieties from Honey Crisp to Jonathon. With so many to choose from, which ones do you use for apple cider? The choice is up to you.
You can choose a single variety or multiple types. If you want a sweeter cider, then use sweeter varieties and the same goes for tartness. Generally, the best apple ciders are made from a mix of sweet, tart, and aromatic varieties.
Don’t underestimate the power of smell. When you enter a room filled with fresh hot cider, you smell it and it’s heavenly.
The only caveat to choosing apples is they can not be spoiled anywhere. It’s fine to have a few blemishes but cut out any spoiled areas. Why? They cause the cider to ferment too fast and make a horrible tasting cider. (Trust us, we know.)
Once you choose the apples, wash them, core them, and cut them into quarters or smaller pieces. A bushel of apples creates about 3 gallons of cider. The cider process is about to begin.
Generally, for people making cider at home, it’s best to use glass containers to hold the pressed apple juice. Wash them thoroughly and make sure there is no soap residue on them.
If you want to make traditional apple cider, then you’ll need a muslin sack or jelly bag. It’s something that holds the pulp, and you can squeeze the juice out. (If you don’t have anything, use an old but clean pillowcase.)
Place the apples into a blender or food chopper and until you have a nice wet pulp. Place the pulp into the juicer bag and squeeze all the juice out into the containers. You have freshly squeezed and unpasteurized apple juice.
The bottles should be filled to just below the brim and plugged with cotton balls and not a standard cap. The bottles need oxygen to get into it and out. Without a cotton plug, fermentation causes the bottle to explode. For sweeter cider, let the bottles sit for about 3-4 days at around 70 degrees.
Sediment forms and drops to the bottom as fermentation continues. After 3 or 4 days, it’s time to separate the cider from the sediment. Place the end of the long rubber tube into the bottle just above the sediment.
Get out the bottle you want to store the cider in, slowly suck on the other end until you taste liquid and pinch it off. Place the other end into the storage container and fill it with liquid but stop once it hits the sediment.
The cider has live bacteria that makes you sick, so it needs to be pasteurized. All you need to do is pour the cider into a pan and heat it to 165 degrees. You can use a cooking thermometer to know when you reached the right temperature.
If it’s cooked too long, it impacted the taste. Once it’s pasteurized, pour it into a clean and sanitized plastic or glass container. Refrigerate and drink at your leisure.
Cider doesn’t just taste great, but it’s good for you too. Do you know about the health benefits of apple cider? Unlike most other drinks, it contains no added sugars only natural ones. It’s also filled with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Apple cider also has polyphenols. You’ve probably heard how apple cider vinegar has many benefits. Apple cider vinegar is just sweet apple cider that’s been fermented longer.
These polyphenols protect against free radicals and decreased cell damage. They’ve also been linked to lowering blood pressure, preventing certain types of cancer, and helping with heart disease and diabetes.
You can’t beat a delicious drink that not only warms you up on a cold day but helps fight off disease. Apple cider takes several days to make, but the end result is a wonderful drink you can enjoy any time.
Are you interested in making apple cider? Why not come to Swans Trail Farms and pick your apple cider apples. We have several varieties to choose from and they’re great for everything from apple pies to apple cider.
Don’t want to go through all the trouble of making apple cider from scratch? We have lots of fresh apple cider for you here at Swans Trail Farms. Each bottle is delicious and made from our own stock of apples.
Swans Trail Farms isn’t just about apples and apple cider. We’re a family fun destination with lots of activities for all ages including Washington State Corn Maze, pumpkin patch, petting farm, and more.
If you’re interested in picking your own apples or pumpkins or need a fun day out with the kids, then please contact us today.