Sunday, July 27, 2014

hard cider dreaming

why would anyone grow an orchard of crab apples?
 This farm has a fairly large, established orchard.  The trees were planted on a grid system, and they've clearly been carefully pruned over the decades.  This is my first exposure to an "old" apple orchard, and several of the apples here I just couldn't understand.

I took a WSU extension course in hard cider production, and learned that the off-tasting (and smaller) apples are often used as a flavor agent in batches of hard cider, and in fact, could make very tasty cider when mixed with juice from other varieties.

If you're interested in what WSU has to say about cider, you'll find it here.  
More normal (to me) apple
Hard cider is a traditional way to preserve the bounty of an orchard into the winter months, and was in fact a very popular drink in early America.  What I'll do is press each trees output separate, ferment them separately and then mix them to produce the final product, for bottling.  Which is what the WSU course suggested.
dessert apple
 Most of the apples I have here are probably cider apples.  I do have a couple of trees of dessert apples, which is what most folks think of when they think of apples.  But each variety has a place, and I'm interested in experimenting with these older apples to see what they produce.
The birds think they are ripe

several thousand pounds await


EBrown said...

My brother has made some incredibly good cider from wild apples on our property. He pressed and blended all the apples together in one or two batches. Doing it the way you propose will give you more control over the final product, but it's a lot more work and inventory management.

Anonymous said...

Not only was cider popular to drink, but it could be made into apple cider vinegar, which was very important for food preserving.