The Handyman and I have been talking about attempting cider making with some of the Holly Grove apples since we moved here just over 3 years ago. With everything else we've been doing this has slipped down the priority list, but this year I'm going to have a stab at the process.
I've been reading a lot on-line and in books and, though an absolute novice, I'm going to try a more simple approach that doesn't require a cider press and a still room to store the huge quantities of pomace (technical jargon for pulp), demi-johns etc. I may live to regret this approach, but at least I'll have tried.
I've purchased a fermentation bucket, a couple of demi-johns with airlocks, a hydrometer, a syphon tube and suitable yeast. I tried to get hold of cider yeast to no avail, it seems to be sold out, probably as it's apple harvest time. One of the sites recommended using champagne yeast as a substitute, so that's what I've got. I'm using Milton sterilising fluid to prepare the bucket etc.
My plan is to make 2 gallons of cider which, by most accounts, requires about 48 pounds of apples! I'm going to mix our unnamed variety of cooking apple and the lovely red eating apple on our old apple trees together with a small proportion of crab apples from our Red Sentinel tree. So let the gathering of apples begin...
...and 45 minutes later, here's what 48 pounds of apples looks like...almost all are windfalls with little or no bruising with only about 2 pounds of crab apples - well it's a very young tree.
Time to sterilise the fermentation bucket and then on to the juicing of the fruit...more updates to follow at each stage of the process, successful or not!