One of our properties in Pennsylvania was built in 1851. That’s pretty old. There was no electricity, no indoor plumbing and the Civil War was still a decade off. I’m sure the crabapple tree in the back yard isn’t quite as old as the home itself, but it’s definitely been around a while. Based on the high sugar content of the ripe fruit, it’s probably a hybrid (cross of apple and crabapple) but there’s no telling if it’s a unique, natural cross or a long-forgotten cultivar from another era.
Either way, the fruit from this tree makes some of the best jelly, apple sauce and now, hopefully…cider. The basic process is pretty simple: juice the apples, add yeast, and let sit for a week while the yeast turns most of the sugar into alcohol. Move it over to glass jugs to sit for a few months to let all the yeast settle out, then bottle the finished cider.
That’s more or less how it went. It was pretty easy other than the 2 days required to pick, clean and wash all those crabapples! Two bushels (~20 gallons) of fruit was turned into 6 gallons of cider. Based on an early taste test, I can say that the finished product ought to be pretty darn good!
Can’t wait to sample the first bottle this fall!