How to Make Apple Cider

Surprisingly easy tips for making this fall favorite.
Making Apple Cider

Making Apple Cider

You don't need a juicer to make your own apple cider at home.

You don't need a juicer to make your own apple cider at home.

For most of the world, the term “cider” refers to a fermented drink made from juice pressed from mashed fruit (usually apples). Here in the US and most of Canada, we refer to that as “hard” cider and apply the more generic term to the unfermented juice. Although the difference between apple juice and apple cider is not well defined, most consider cider to be apple juice that has not been sweetened, filtered or pasteurized. If you can’t see through it, call it cider.

Usually, our best chance to enjoy fresh apple cider comes with an autumn visit to an orchard. Watching the cider extracted from apples mashed with large, traditional presses is the distinct and delightful pleasure of any visit to one of the many “You Pick ‘Em” farms that open their orchards to the public each fall. But for most of us, those opportunities are few and far between. Fear not, cider fans. Making your own cider at home is surprisingly easy and doesn’t require bulky equipment.

If you’ve ever juiced an apple using a countertop juicer, you’re already making cider. The pulp is extracted from the raw fruit, but does not filter, leaving a substantial amount of solid matter in the resulting juice. Easy peasy.

Even without an expensive juicer, we can still pull it off without too much trouble. Follow these simple steps for making fresh apple cider at home.

Selecting Apples

It takes 15 pounds of apples to produce a gallon of cider. Using a blend of apple varieties  will give your cider a more complex flavor that is not overly sweet or tart. Tart apples like the Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Braeburn mixed with sweeter varieties like Fuji or Jonagold will yield a well-balanced beverage.

Don’t use apples you wouldn’t eat! Bruised, mushy or discolored apples don’t taste good in any form.

Preparing the Apples

Thoroughly wash apples, then core and segment the fruit. Skin may be left on. A knife will work fine, but an inexpensive apple divider is a real time saver.

Once segmented, place small batches in a food processor and puree.

Extracting Cider

Cut a large square of cheesecloth. Create a pouch in a large bowl or storage container with the cheesecloth, making sure to leave plenty of cheesecloth hanging over the edges of the bowl.

Pour pureed apples into the pouch. Pull the edges together and twist tightly. Lift the bundle over the surface of the cider and squeeze firmly to force as much liquid as possible from the flesh.

Unlike filtered juice, there is still plenty of solid apple matter in your cider and because it has not been pasteurized, spoilage is an issue. Stored in an airtight container, it will last just a week or so in the refrigerator before it begins to go bad. So drink up! We’ll make more.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Sow and Plant Fruiting Vegetables

Large leaves, golden flowers and heavy yields make squashes, zucchini and cucumbers ideal plants for productive pots.

How to Freeze Apples

Save that apple bounty for the months ahead.

Creepy Craft: How to Make Apple Shrunken Heads

A delightfully sinister family craft using seasonal apples.

Easy Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail

Try this perfect, seasonal sip at your next fall gathering.

How to Make Glittered Pumpkins

Shake up your Halloween decor with these colorful glittered pumpkins. A great project for kids, creating these sparkling pumpkins is quick, easy and fun. Plus, since the pumpkins remain whole, they'll last much longer than carved ones.

How to Make Foam Halloween Tombstones

These hand carved and painted tombstones are an inexpensive and easy way to create a personalized and creative outdoor Halloween display.

How to Make Peekaboo Pumpkins

Create a spooktacular vignette of peeking pumpkins using miniature gourds and a variety of inexpensive bowls and lidded dishes.

How to Make a Cat Condo

Use everyday items to build a fancy cat post with baskets.

How to Make a Life-Size Halloween Ghost

Create a life-size ghost for Halloween using inexpensive items. Hang it from a tree or place it on your front porch so passersby will shake in their boots.

How to Make a Silhouette Pumpkin

Bring sophistication to your Halloween decor by embellishing a pumpkin with a trendy black-and-white silhouette.