Sixty Pints of Cider!

| 6th October 2010
It’ll all be ready for Christmas!

So, after a seasonal supper of Exmouth Mussels and now with a glass of wine and a slice of chocolate cake (sandwiched with fresh cream and that Mother-in-law’s Forage Jelly) I’ll begin my excuses of my lack of blogging…
With the kids back at school, and harvest time in full swing – I’ve been either in the garden (sowing, weeding, reaping) or in the kitchen preserving…
We’ve now got jars and jars of jellies, jams, pickles & chutneys and I’m starting to think about Christmas puddings and perfecting the Panettone recipes…
I found some cream in the supermarket that was half price/must be used today and I couldn’t resist knocking up 50 or so profiteroles for the freezer… well it is my daughter’s birthday this weekend!
However, this is a significant blog entry this week…
As we are reporting back on the infamous ‘Cider Sunday’!
So what do you need?

  • Eight cases of apples
  • Six hours
  • Lots of friends
  • and a bit of kit…

Our Cider Tab shows last year’s project with home-made equipment, but this year we invested in a fruit crusher and press from the lovely people at  Ascott. We were careful in saving, storing and begging for extra apples and ended up with four times as much cider… last year we made 7.5 ltrs and this year 30!!!!

So what did we do?

We washed and quartered the apples, cutting out any really bad bits…

Then we milled them through the crusher, preparing them for the press. Last year we tried doing this by bashing them in a bucket (didn’t get them small enough) then by blitzing in the food processor (too mushy). This crusher/mill was pricey – but a good investment… we’ve already lent it out to one of our good neighbours, Paul, and he paid us ‘rent’ in homemade jam (just as we like it!).


We filled the press (in the liner bag) with the milled apples and had the juice run straight into a sterilized demijohn (please note our new, extra-large one – 25ltrs if you please!).

This, once full, is sealed with a bubble airlock valve (only allowing CO2 out and no oxygen in). The Demijohns are now happily bubbling away in our conservatory… it’ll all be ready for Christmas!

The fantastic by-product of the cider making process is the pulp which can be used for jelly making… I’ve frozen as much as I could and have now begun a mammoth task of processing it into a variety of jellies in time to give away as Christmas gifts… Current favourites are the classic Mrs Duff’s Apple & Chilli Jelly – always a winner! Yet, I’ve got a very soft spot for the Ginger Preserve (same recipe but using chopped stem ginger instead of chillies!).

Other highlights…

There’s alway news here at Hen Corner; good news is that Ruby seems a bit more lively and is even growing new feathers…let’s wait and see with her (like we have all last year!).

Jobs done include a quick gathering of a bed of green tomatoes that had all the signs of blight setting in… so off to the shops for sugar and vinegar… and four hours later a huge batch of ‘Green Tomatoes & Red Chilli Chutney’ – Hoorah!

Today we mucked out the chickens (without course guests to observe) and lifted all the summer potatoes. We also planted Purple Sprouting Broccoli for spring and sowed some Purple Broad Beans (the aim is to over winter the seedlings so that they flower way before the black fly season… let’s see?).

Life is good, life is full. Try and get the balance of a full life that is also enjoyable enough to make you feel rich…

Jobs for next week

  • Harvest the sweetcorn
  • Bring in the remaining green tomatoes
  • Sow more carrots
  • Earth up the Christmas potatoes
  • Plant the last of the leek seedlings
  • Plant in the Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants
  • Making more Apple & Chilli Jelly with  the apple pulp

That will keep us busy. Have a good week yourself!

Corners are not just for squares!

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