Cider – An easy and deliciously rewarding hobby

Nothing says autumn like fresh cider

Cider conjures memories of sweet fragrances and tart tasting apple in a variety of shiny reds, yellows, and greens. Yet, even some of the best cider can be made from the brownest, smallest, ugliest, most bitter tasting apple with a strong tannin that sucks the moisture from your mouth.

Apples collected from surrounding neighbourhoods
Apples collected from surrounding neighbourhoods
A TreeTime.ca employee extracting juice from the apples
A TreeTime.ca employee extracting juice from the apples

Making apple cider has been a time honoured tradition for literally centuries. Our ancestors recognized this drink as a more pleasant and safer alternative to water, which carried countless nasty ailments that no one knew how to treat at the time. Mildly alcoholic cider is inhospitable to bacteria and can be stored for short periods. It was even enjoyed by children! As a result, cider today is a leisurely drink enjoyed by adults only (sorry kids).

There are multiple methods of distilling cider

In fact, we at TreeTime.ca are no stranger to using fresh fruit and berries. A couple of our own staff members have made a hobby out of making ciders and wines and are willing to share some of their experiences. 

To begin, they extract the juice with help of the infamous ‘Cidernator’, as dubbed by another employee. This old washing machine is fixed to extract and filter juice from multiple apples, crabapples, and pears with centrifugal force.

The Cidernator (made from an old washing machine) at work
The Cidernator at work

Next, they need to think about yeast. Yeast is an important part of cider as it converts sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Methods of adding sugar and/or yeast will vary depending on how you would like your cider to taste. In any case, different ingredients can impact its sweetness, tannin, and concentration of alcohol among other factors. Take some time to research how to get the quality you want and leave yourself open to unexpected results.

Finally, your cider can be bottled once it is completely fermented and filtered. The time before the cider is tasted can change its chemistry as well. Therefore, if you have a highly acidic cider, it can become softer over time.

The finished product - a glass of cider
The finished product

By and large, whatever your preference for hard cider is, there are plenty of different methods and recipes out there to get the results you want, or you can experiment in your own time and discover new distilleries for yourself and your friends and family.

TreeTime.ca possesses a wide variety of hardy fruit and berry plants for cider and winemakers. Of course if you are already growing your own trees, this deliciously rewarding hobby is an effective way of clearing your yard of unsavory apples and crabapples.