Sunday, December 15, 2013

handmade holidays: libations

I don't think I ever posted a photo of the last round of cider! It was so good (and so affordable, and so pleasantly low in alcohol) that we already made another batch and I have six pounds of apples to grind up tomorrow and start another round of fermentation. The process comes from Yvette Van Boven's lovely little cookbook, Home Made Winter, which Cass bought for me last year and which is a really fun resource for these dark indoor months. I haven't tried making butter yet, but I want to - soon!

This process gave me the heebie-jeebies a little bit, at first, just because there is no boiling or sterilization of the food, just simple fermentation. Grated apples (cores, peels and all) are placed in a sterilized bucket with a bit of water and allowed to stand for seven days (you stir the mash daily with a clean spoon). After that, the solids are strained out and you add sugar, fresh ginger, and cinnamon sticks and let it stand another day. Then it is strained and put in a bottle. We put up four bottles in the fridge  to ferment (Yvette Van Boven says you can let it ferment for up to two months - our last bottles only made it a month before we drank them) and are drinking the leftovers tonight.

I really like this low-tech cider. It smells and tastes a bit of yeast (no yeast is actually added to the mash; the only yeasts present are the wild yeasts on the apples' skins), and over time it develops great fine bubbles (after a month, the bottles would fizz over fantastically when they were opened).

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