IT’S BEEN a good year for apples with me. I may only have had four on the scrawny little half-starved tree in a tub but I’ve made litres of apple juice, cider, cider vinegar, and bottled brown sauce and chutneys while finding time to make the occasional apple pie.
They were not my apples but those from half a dozen trees in my neighbours’ gardens, pickedbeither directly from the tree, as windfalls or scooped from buckets left out on the pavement for all to take.
And I’m writing this now with the aid of a glass of ice cold still cider straight from the cellar.
It’s been fun: every week or so a new bucketful of Bramleys and varieties no one is quite sure of piled up on the table in my back yard.
I wouldn’t have done any juicing or cider making without the help of a juicer in full working order given to me by a neighbour. She had failed to sell it in the street’s yard sale so simply left it on her wall. It made a big change from grating the apples and squeezing the juice through muslin!
The fruit, of course, plays a vital role in my favourite recipes but this year I have been apple juice mad.
I filled up bottles and put them in the fridge for my breakfast drink. It didn’t take long for them to start to ferment so I thought: Cider! I filled several one gallon demijohns, fitted with airlocks, and waited for the magic to start.
I didn’t use a yeast, just let them work naturally, and didn’t add any sugar, which is why the resultant cider is not that strong. It’s more or less scrumpy ( I was used to deadly versions of this brew while working in Devon ) and not particularly fierce but that’s fine.
Of course, none of the apples I used were cider apples but next year I will add lots of crab apples as well.
All that cider ( there are a couple more gallons still in demijohns waiting to be bottled) meant I could play around with the surplus, turning some into vinegar with the help of Willy’s live organic cider vinegar which contains the ‘mother’ which converts it into vinegar.
It’s been fun. And thanks for the apples to Tom, Brian and Wendy and Roy and Jean, and especially to Sian for the juicer. Roll on autumn 2021.