|The pears we were using. Kevin said these were picked a couple of weeks previous. They were still very firm and tasted quite dry.|
|The apples we picked from Kevin's tree, which were sweet and juicy - perfect for eating out of hand but produce a bland cider if used on their own.|
|The crabapples. Crabapples are readily available to be rescued from yards all over the city and are ideally suited to cider-making.|
|Chad explaining the rack press. Kevin's press is a bit over-engineered for most home cider-makers. There's an enormous oak tray under that cloth.|
|The top of the rack press needs to be level, and there needs to be room all around for the juice to flow out. After this a stack of wood pieces and a jack are used to apply pressure evenly to the pomace to press out all the juice.|
|Kevin explaining the bucket press. Directions for making this are at kevinkossowan.com|
|The gorgeous meal we were served, featuring (naturally) a Lactuca salad mix.|
|Chad showing us the consistency of the 'cheese' that's left at the end of the press, after folding and re-pressing a couple of times. This cake of fruit pulp gets saved and taken to a farm to feed the pigs; you could also add it to the compost pile.|
|My juice (in a sterilized jug with an airlock cap) before pouring some off a couple of cups for my kids to try and adding some champagne yeast. My daughter reacted as if she had never really tasted juice before.|
|Just before bedtime, after adding the rest of the juice-yeast mixture. See the head already starting to form? Yay! I left it at room temperature (21C) overnight.|
|The same jug the next morning, before giving it a swirl. Clearly there has been a lot of activity overnight. Perhaps I was a bit heavy-handed with the yeast?|
|So, just for funsies, I picked up a couple of jugs of the fancy organic apple juice at the grocery store, used three cups of my jug from yesterday to inoculate that (in the bucket), then topped up my jug with the same juice. (You can see here how that ugly gunk at the top went back into suspension when I swirled the jug, too.) I'll let you know in a few weeks how this turns out!|
Thanks again to Chad and Kevin and the entire Shovel & Fork team for teaching these culinary skill-sharing courses! The day was SO much fun. Even if I never make cider again myself (and I think I will!), I have a much better appreciation now for the art of choosing fruits, yeasts, and fermentation conditions to achieve particular flavours. I'll never look at a bottle of cider the same way.
Update: there are great instructions for making cider from scratch here and here!