Friday, June 10, 2011

Homemade Apple Cider

I made my first experimental batch of apple cider last Autumn, and it was so delicious I just knew I would be at least doubling the recipe this year. Last year I managed to score free apples (braeburn I think) from a tree on my parent's property, but this year, I bought some organic cider apples from a lady who sells lovely organic apples at my local Farmer's Market. For a mere $3, I ended up with 5kg! I was quite the happy camper.

The recipe I use is from the New Zealand Gardener magazine's Homegrown 2 publication. Frustratingly, the recipe warns of the cider's potency, but after two years, I still think mine is about as alcoholic as a glass of lemonade! I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, as I follow the recipe exactly. Luckily, this brew is super delicious, almost ginger beer-y, so the lack of alcohol just means I can drink more of it! Apples are just finishing their season at the moment, so forage for some on one of the many local free trees or find someone with an over-producing tree and offer to take some off their hands. Once you say you will return the favour with homemade cider, I'm sure they will be happy to oblige!

I tripled the recipe, and made about 17 litres, but below is the standard quantities, which you can modify as you like.

Homemade Apple Cider (from Homegrown 2 - Live off Your Land for Less)

1.5 kgs apples
5.7 litres water, boiled then cooled
1 kg white sugar
3 lemons, juice and zest

Trim any nasties off the apples, roughly dice and place in the freezer in a plastic bag with the handles tied for 3 days. After 3 days, remove from freezer and defrost in the sink in their bag. In batches, blitz the apples in a food processor until pulped (you may need to add a bit of water to get things moving). Put the pulp in a 10 litre, very clean plastic bucket and add the boiled and cooled water. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 7 days, stirring twice daily.

After 7 days, strain the liquid through a tea towel or muslin cloth and discard the pulp. To the strained juice, add sugar, zest and juice and stir well. After a few days the mixture will start to fizz as the yeast (supposedly!) converts to alcohol. Leave for a few more days for the fizzing to die off and then decant, through a sieve, into plastic screw-top bottles. Squeeze the bottle in ever-so-slightly when screwing the lids on and leave some space at the top for the expansion room, as this mixture can get very fizzy!

Store in the garage for a few weeks and it's ready!

Chop apples. Freeze for 3 days.

Defrost apples, add to boiled, cooled water. Stir twice daily.

Strain juice from pulp.

Add lemon juice and zest.

After a few days, strain and bottle.

Squeeze your bottles to allow them to expand.
No explosions here!

17 litres, ready to go!

After a week or so, enjoy!


  1. This cider is ambrosial! A delicious cold sweet treat. Amy, you are so clever.

  2. Hey wow, I saw that recipe in the Homegrown mag and had always meant to make a batch using our golden delicious apples from back home. How cool that you actually made it! Well done. I bet it's beautiful! I vow to make it one day... when we move home to our apple tree! :-)
    Hope you and all your family are okay after the big aftershock today? I thought of you instantly when I heard the news. Your earthquake post still haunts me. Xx

  3. I made this recipe too, added bit much sugar but it tasted great and had some kick, just rather sweet

  4. I made this but must have left it too long as it turned to vinegar,so am making another batch which I will drink sooner,perhaps just leave it for ten days instead of three weeks