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Tried and tested: How to make easy apple cider

Picture: Sarah Gualtieri/Unsplash

With the current lockdown and ban on the purchase or sale of booze, many South Africans are now going back to brewing their own alcoholic beverages.

Try to buy some ginger at the local store and see how precious that little item has become. There’s none to be found anywhere.

Here’s a recipe we found on TimesLIVE for making a QUICK and EASY version of apple cider. No fancy gear or utensils are required. In just a few days you could be drinking your own delicious home brew. (Let’s hope there’s not a run on Granny Smith apples!)

Like Christmas again!

We tried it out with great success. The process took a few hours and we left the cider to stand for a few days before drinking. Delicious.

As an added bonus, your home will start to smell like Christmas again, as the apple and orange juice and spices begin to bubble on the stove.

Now read: Healthy plans for eating during lockdown

Twelve apples and two oranges go into this punchy apple cider brew. Picture: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Equipment needed:
Large pot (very large, it has to take 4l plus all the fruit)
Large metal spoon
Cheesecloth or a fine sieve
2 x 2 litre cooldrink bottles with lids, well washed, or 4 x 1l.

Ingredients:
12 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled and quartered without removing the cores
2 oranges, cut into quarters
1 cinnamon stick
10ml (2 tsp) cloves
5ml (1 tsp) ground allspice
A knob of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
4 litres of water
125ml (½ cup) brown sugar
10ml (2 tsp) Brewer’s yeast
(If you don’t fancy all the spices moderate to your taste)

METHOD:
Place the apples and oranges in a large pot. Add the spices and ginger and pour over the water. Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours.

Remove from the heat and, using a metal spoon, press the fruit against the side of the pot to release the pulp. Return to the heat and simmer gently for another hour. Strain the mixture, discarding the solids.

[**A tip here, the cheesecloth is more effective for straining. If using a sieve, you might need to do a few rounds to squeeze out all the juice.]

Your home will smell delicious when you boil up your brew of fruit, sugar and spices. Picture: Jocelyn Morales/Unsplash

Let it cool to room temperature (about 15-22C), then add the yeast to the remaining cider, stirring to dissolve it.

Divide the cider between the cooldrink bottles, then store in a dark, cool place. You’ll know the cider is ready when the bottles become hard to the touch; this will take about 24 to 36 hours. It will be quicker if the weather is hot.

Icy cold

Once ready to drink, refrigerate till icy cold before serving. Always take care when opening the bottles as the cider will be quite fizzy. Each bottle can be refrigerated for up to a week once opened.

Summer proper is about to arrive at last, savour your sensational cider on the porch at the end of a long hot day. What a treat!

** Home brews can become undrinkable if stored incorrectly or for too long. If there is any fungal growth, if the brew tastes “off” or has an unpleasant smell beyond the yeast undertones, don’t take any chances: rather throw it away. Carefully clean utensils you use to make your home brew before brewing. There are loads of instructions online and products you can use to sterilise equipment.

  • Recipe and cautionary note from Sunday Times/TimesLIVE/Hillary Biller

Now read: Midlands foodies go slow in Kenya

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