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Making Cidah

October 13th, 2015

Cider (or cidah here in Maine) is one of Mr Chiot’s favorite fall treats. In Ohio, we had a local press we purchased gallons and gallons of cider from each year. We have yet to find cider as good as there’s here in Maine, so we usually get 8-10 gallons for our freezer when we’re back in Ohio for Thanksgiving. Lucky for our, our neighbor was given a cider press and we had an abundance of apples.
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We have lots of different varieties of apples here, probably around 15, of which 8 are ready to be used right now. We have no idea what varieties they are, some over 120 years old. We’re hoping to figure out what they are here one of these days. We picked two of each variety and I made juice, which we tasted to see what flavor profiles they each had. It was amazing to taste the difference between them all, some where sweet, some were intense, others were watery, and still other were astringent.
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After tasting the various juices, we started picking apples into big totes. Each tote holds around 2 bushels of apples, we picked three totes and a bushel. We picked for an hour or two and then loaded them up in the car to head down to our neighbor’s.
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He was ready to roll, the cider press was fixed up nicely and on the front porch. After a little tweaking we were in business putting the apples through the crusher and making our first batch.
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After a few hours we had all of our containers filled and tons of apple mash. Some went to his chickens, some went to our chickens, some went to a local farmer for their pigs.
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Overall it was a really fun day, ending up with a lot of cider wasn’t so bad. The cider ended up being delicious, next year we might tweak our recipe a bit, but it’s still better than any of the cidah I’ve purchased from any of the local orchards. We were pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy the process was.

Have you ever been a part of a cider pressing day? Do you like apple cider?

The Flavors of Fall

October 15th, 2010

One of the things Mr Chiots and I love about where we live is that we have a wonderful little local cider mill. They sell unpasteurized cider that they press in a little mill behind their home. They have the best cider in the area (and we’ve tried them all). They put up a few signs on the road and you buy it with the honor system, one of the beautiful things about life in rural Ohio!

The best part of this cider is that it’s unpasteurized so it gets “zingy” as I say. It starts to ferment from the natural yeast after about a week. I prefer it when it’s slightly fermented because it’s less sweet. I don’t particularly like it cold, but I love it mulled. During cider season we enjoy mulled cider almost every evening while we read or watch TV.

We don’t just drink this cider, we buy extra for many other things. I usually make a few batches of mulled cider jelly for gifts. We also boil a gallon or two down into cider syrup, which is fantastic on french toast, pancakes or drizzled over ice cream. I also buy 5-10 gallons for making apple cider vinegar which I use for canning and cooking throughout the year. This cider makes great cider vinegar all by itself since it’s unpasteurized. I’ll post specifics on this when I make by 2010 batch in the next month or two.

Are you a cider lover? Do you have a special place to buy it? Have you ever had unpasteurized cider?

Making Hard Cider

November 2nd, 2009

I decided to try my hand at making some hard cider this year. I’ve been making my own apple cider vinegar for a few years and I’ve heard it’s better if you start with hard cider. Generally to make my vinegar I simply pour cider into a big glass jar, cover with cheesecloth and let it sit for a few months until it’s vinegar, easy as that. I do buy unpasteurized cider from a small local press, so it contains the natural yeasts in it that ferment it and then turn it into vinegar.
I read up on how to do it, and the best article I found was over at Mother Earth News. I ran to my local brewing supply store (which happens to be Leener’s) and I bought some valves and one one gallon jugs and some of the yeast mentioned in the article (Red Star Cote des Blancs).
I decided to make a few different kinds of cider, one with only natural yeast, one with the natural yeast and the purchased yeast, and 2 gallons with only the purchased yeast. If you buy unpasteurized cider and you want to make your hard cider with purchased yeast you’ll have to pasteurize the cider to kill all the natural yeast. I decided to try a batch with and without this step to see how it would affect the final product.
In a few weeks I should be able to taste my cider and see the difference between the 3 methods. I’m very interested to see if the apple cider vinegar I make from this cider tastes different than the stuff I make without this specific fermenting step.

Anything interesting brewing at your house?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.