Friday, 18 October 2013

BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD, AND BECOME THE FIRST FRUITS OF THEM THAT SLEPT. I'm not entirely sure what that quote has to do with cider making, but it's from Corinthians, and if  St Paul didn't know much about cider, he certainly knew how to turn a memorable phrase. So, my First Fruits endeavours have almost come full circle. From picking up the Bramley fallers from the vast orchards of the wonderful Mrs Liz Manning, of Barton Farm, through strenuous hours of chopping, pulping, pressing and squeezing, to the anxiety when the fermentation doesn't start, to the joy when it starts to clear, and the ecstasy when it tastes divine - it's been an incredible journey, as they might say on a trash TV reality show. The first few bottles have been filled and corked, and the labels have been printed. I have to confess that the clear glass bottles have been acquired by the distinctly lowlife method of raiding the Somers Road bottle bank - but future drinkers fret ye not - the bottles have all been scrubbed, cleaned and sterilised.

The cider is clear, pure, and tastes of autumn. I'm not sure what the alcohol content is - my guess is somewhere between 5% and 7%. The proof will be in the drinking. I will release it to the family over Christmas and observe the effects.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

AM AT A LOSS TO KNOW why here in Fenland, and more specifically, around Wisbech, we have not capitalised on one of our major assets. No. Sunlit uplands? Certainly not, we have neither. Enlightened and progressive local government? Do you have  PhD in irony? Fracking, perhaps? Nope - unless you can create energy out of mud. Oil reserves? Maybe, if you could distill the Brylcreem from the barnets of our town councillors. OK, I give up. What? Forget Zummerset - if you drew a ten mile radius around Wisbech, you would include one of the most intensive apple growing areas on the planet. So why not market a Fenland cider? On a small scale, here's what you do.
(1) Core some apples. You need a heavy blade, ideally a Chinese chopper (racist bastard, send for the UAF)

(2) Slice the apples in 1cm bits(3)Pulp them up - you can use a food processor, or a blade attachment on an electric drill

(3)Here is your major investment - a fruit press

(4)Put pulp inside mesh bag
(5) Turn the screw of the press
(6) Transfer juice to demijohns/barrels

(7) Throw in Camden tablets to kill wild yeasts
(8) Add sugar, if you prefer
(9) Make yeast starter
(10) Chuck yeast into juice
(11) Wait for fermentation to finish
(12) Bottle. leave to mature and drink.