[NAFEX] Cider Making

Richard MURPHY murphman108 at msn.com
Thu Feb 21 22:03:42 EST 2008

I'm going to toss my 2 cents in..............

By all means, go ahead and plant a few trees. See the Fedco site. They have a bunch.

I don't know what the cider will be used for, but if it's booze.............

There's only 2 things you just can't fake; apple aroma and apple taste. My advice is to go to the store and buy some local apples (if there is such a thing). Eat them. Smell and taste them. Go for the ones with a loud apple attitude. Sugar can be boosted, Malic acid can be boosted or reduced, tannin can be added for astringency. (Too much tannin in a commercial apple is not possible). Believe it or not, dumb old Mc Intosh is decent for being 'appley'. So are Cortlands, and Cortlands squeeze easily. An Ambrosia apple or a Red Delicious is not. Jonagold, if you can find them, Spencer, Wolf River (don't laugh) and Fortune and Empire are 'appley' too. I never ate a Cider apple. But, I might guess that a part of their redeeming reputation is based on qualities that were otherwise unavailable in olden times. Grimes Golden was popular because it had a lot of sugar. Crab apples are a good source of tannin, too, if you want to refrain from adding tannin powder.

I make wine with cider all the time. One of my recipes called "Amber" is 100% cider with some sugar and tannin added. I ferment to dryness to about 12%, then sorbate and back-sweeten and bottle. It is very popular with my family. In fact, when cider season is over, I actually use Mott's 100% Natural apple juice, (with the crud still in the bottle) and doctor it up to 'near' cider quality. That works for wine, but not for fresh drinking. My people are 'regular folk' and couldn't tell a Chardonnay if they were afloat in it. Nobody cares!

Plant the trees, but start your experiments making juice asap.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robert Mullins<mailto:mullins at gaelicmysts.com> 
  To: North American Fruit Explorers<mailto:nafex at lists.ibiblio.org> 
  Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 11:54 AM
  Subject: [NAFEX] Cider Making

  Does anyone have any resources on types of apples to grow for great 
  cider making?  After reading several things I am pretty much confused, 
  bitters, sharps, bittersharps, sweets, bittersweets........

  I am trying to make some decisions on what to grow and now I don't 
  know.  I just planted several Arkansas Blacks on a dwarving rootstock.  
  Oh btw, I am in Arkansas.  Zone 7a-7b.
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