On turning apples and pears into a liquid wonder.
Last week, we kicked off our second season of cider and perry making. Given our lack of knowledge and experience (didn’t I spend years working for a big brewer?) our first-ever cider was far from flawless, but this year we’re going for gold! We’ve invested in the right equipment, we’ve cleaned the antique glass bottles we found in the cellar, we’ve read every definite guide to home cider making, we’re good.
A crisp autumnal day. The making of begins with collecting the fruit from the ancient orchard, all picked by hand, windfalls or from the tree. We use different varieties of apples and pears, which are still to be identified. We have no clue, all we know is that they’re coarse and inedible, but our random blends will surely bring real depth and a host of interesting flavours and characteristics to our cider. We wash the fruit in a big basin and then it’s pressing party time! We take turns with the grinder and spin the crank of our brand new wooden press. A muscle flexing contest ensues. Thomas wins. Finally, we add yeast, close everything off with a lid and an airlock.
As we wait for the fermentation magic to happen, I contemplate my new life. As a city girl I never imagined that producing a rustic drink could be such fun: our arms are sore from playing and our bellies ache because we overdosed on the irresistibly fresh juice. I also love the idea that we’re using the same fruit, which our predecessors picked from the gnarled trees almost a hundred years before us. Our cider making connects us to nature, tradition and heritage in equal measure. I’ll drink to that.