SculleryMade Sparkling Apple Cider
Spring is here and in the Scullery we’ve been busy gearing up for Farmer’s markets, cookery demo’s and all the while we’ve been testing out some new recipes for brewing and curing with local produce which we hope to share with you over the the next couple of months! So it’s safe to say, we’ve worked up a thirst! Thankfully, a batch of scullery-brewed sparkling cider we started in January is ready to pop, just in the nick of time!
In the scullery, we are pretty happy about the resurgence of quality craft cider producers around the country in the last 5-10 years. Let’s not forget the brewers either, and the distillers bringing age-old Irish crafts back home to produce the best quality spirits, beers and ciders using our own locally grown crop – fair play to all of you, we’re delighted you’re here! With the return of the craft, there have been more and more people keen to give home-brewing a try. Maybe it’s because the secret’s out – it’s not that difficult, give it a go!
It takes a couple of months to produce the cider, so now’s a good time to start preparing some batches to enjoy a glass of your own home-made sparkling cider in late-spring/early summer (will we get a summer this year?!). The recipe shared below uses Barnhill Apple Juice from Kenny Redmond’s Barnhill farm in Co. Armagh (we’re a sucker for Orchard County Apples!). Barnhill farm have been growing and maintaining traditional varieties on the family farm for over 100 years. The apples are pressed and bottled on the farm and include no additives or preservatives which makes them a great base for the bio-chemical part of the fermentation as some additives/preservatives in other juices can interfere with the yeast’s activity. Barnhill have also created a range of juices that have extra flavour from added blackberry fruit, raspberry and elderflower which make for lovely sparkling cider varieties – so you’ll have your pick! Around Belfast the apple juices are available for purchase in St. George’s market, McCreery’s Butcher (Ormeau rd). and at other select Farmer’s markets too.
Aside from the apple juice, you’ll need a few essentials to kick-start your home-cidery. Quality, sterile equipment is very important. It’s got to be clean because you’re making the perfect environment enriched for any kind of bacteria/fugus to thrive in so keep it clean to prevent anything but the yeast growing or you’ll spoil your batch. You’ll need a glass demi-john with a rubber bung and an airlock.
To transfer the primed cider into the bottle after your first fermentation for conditioning, you’ll need a length of tubing (around 1 Metre) and a rigid plastic tube with removable u-bend (which will help to reduce sediment transfer).
You’ll need a yeast strain (dried yeast) for two fermentation steps – first in the demi-john and second in the bottle. Different strains of yeast will metabolize the sugar source in fermentation to give a unique profile of bi-products (that impart flavour) and carbon dioxide (to give the fizz). The recipe below also includes a small amount of sugar which is optional, but adding it gives the yeast in the second fermentation a bit more energy, which is especially important if you’ve had a longer initial fermentation.
After that, you’re good to go and all you need is time!
SculleryMade Sparkling Apple Cider
1 bottle of Barhnhill Apple Juice (750mL)
1 packet of champagne yeast (5g)
50g caster sugar (optional)
Preparation time: 5 minutes prep
Conditioning: 2 months
Calories per serving: 110 calories (180mls per serving)
Pour one bottle of apple juice into a clean demi-john container and add the yeast.
Keep and clean the juice bottle in preparation for conditioning the cider.
Swirl the liquid for a couple of minutes to aerate the juice and wake the yeast.
Fill the airlock reservoir with water and insert the airlock into the rubber stopper.
Seal the bottle with the stopper and leave the demi-john in a warm place (18-22oC) to ferment for 5-10 days. Swirl every couple of days (carefully remove the stopper for this and replace after swirling) to disturb the yeast and introduce more air into the liquid to maintain fermentation.
Using tubing and a removable u-bend attachment, transfer the cider into a jug to pour back into the glass bottle.
Dissolve the sugar in 50mL warm water and add to the cider with the remainder of the yeast.
Seal the bottle and roll to mix the yeast and leave at room temperature to condition for a minimum of 2 months.
Serve the cider chilled and enjoy!
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SculleryMade is a Belfast blog sharing recipes using quality, locally sourced ingredients in cooking, brewing, baking and curing.
SculleryMade – Ormeau Rd, Belfast Contact: Caoimhe@scullery-made.com