First,thanks to all of you who sent good wishes and warm thoughts for my Mom.Her surgery went great and she should be going home tomorrow. She will have visiting nurses and a physical therapist go to the house. She refused to go to rehab,preferring to be in her own home,in her own surroundings. I think it helps heal faster.
Now that we have 28 lbs of apples,the first thing we said was,"OK,now what do we do with them?" Rick made a couple of wonderful pies with Gluten Free crust. I wanted to try apple cider, but we don't own a press. Could I make it without the press? I wondered. Surely I could find something on the internet.
I sure did!Several variations,in fact.
Homemade Apple Cider
I used about 25 apples. The norm seems to be 36 large apples for one gallon of cider.Our apples all came out rather small,so I knew I wouldn't get anywhere near that amount. Plus,if it came out horrible, I would have all this cider that no one would want to touch. 25 apples made 1 qt of cider.
First,you core the apples. I don't have an apple corer,so I just cut out the center of the apples.Don't peel them. Cut them into quarters.
After you cut them,put them in a food processor and puree them. The more the apples are pureed,the more juice you can get out of them. I have a food processor attachment for My Precious ( the Cuisinart),and it's not big,so I could only puree a few cups at a time.
I put a big bowl in the sink,and put a strainer in the bowl. I lined the strainer with cheesecloth,and put the pureed apple goop in the cheesecloth.I twisted the cheesecloth and squeezed it as much as I could. I then realized that by keeping the strainer in the bowl,all I was doing was making the apple goop absorb the juice I had already strained,so I put the strainer across the sink,with the bowl underneath. I would chop apples,and while they were pureeing,I would work on getting the juice out of the previous pureed batch.
Once I had purred all the apples I wanted,I then pasteurized the cider by heating it to 160 degrees. The cider was sour (remember,the apples were quite small) so after it reached 160 degrees,I took it off the heat,and added sugar,stirring until dissolved. I used about an 1/8 of a cup of sugar.
I wound up with one quart of apple cider. By pasteurizing the cider,one can keep it refrigerated for three weeks. If you don't wish to pasteurize it,it will only last about four days.