Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden
huskyteer

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There's A Demijohn In My Airing-Cupboard

Chatter on the X9 Forum turns to all kinds of things, and I recently discovered that one member shared my enjoyment of cider. Not only that, but last year he had pooled resources with some of his neighbours, bought a lot of apples, pressed them and successfully brewed his own, and would I like to join him for this year's attempt?

(Before going any further I should point out for the benefit of American readers that in this country, cider is an alcoholic drink, you wimps. Thank you.)

Saturday morning found me at Surrey Docks City Farm. They were delighted to have us and put posters on the gate announcing 'Today: Cider Pressing by Traditional Methods', so we were on display to the general public.

First we washed the apples, then broke them up scratted them in a grinder, then pressed them using one barrel press and one rack press. I had a go on everything; I can't imagine I'll ever need to operate a press again, but if I do I'll know how.

When I needed a rest, I sampled last year's cider and stroked goats (then plunged my hands back among the apples, adding to the authenticity of it all). Goats love apple but we weren't allowed to give them any as it was too acidic for them, so whenever we passed them on our way to the compost heap with a wheelbarrow of pomace they stuck their heads over the fence pleadingly.

Having spent the week begging empty four-pint milk bottles from work, prompting one colleague to ring me and ask if I was building a raft, I had enough containers to take home two gallons of apple juice on the scooter (which made the front wheel go up in the air when I parked it).

According to instructions, I funnelled it into my demijohn, added yeast, plugged the neck loosely with cotton wool and shoved everything in A Warm Place, i.e. the airing-cupboard, keeping an anxious eye out for the start of fermentation. Last night, I am delighted to report, the force of escaping gas was enough to push the plug out of the neck - exactly as foretold. In a few days, when things quieten down, I fit a bung with an airlock. It's all go here.

The downside is that I won't be able to use the airing-cupboard to dry my clothes for a while, unless I want to go around smelling like a broken-down old alkie. Yes, more than usual, ho ho.
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