What should you do with all that leftover mess? The leftovers, skins, cores, seeds, stems and pulp is called “Pomace”. Fern my cow and Ivy my goat are delighted to see this rare treat. Stock relishes pomace, but if you have large amounts you shouldn’t feed it all to them at once because it can cause diarrhea. It can be kept in a cool place for a day or just toss the rest into the compost pile and mix it in.
Apple Types for Making Cider
A sweet and tart mix of apples seem to always turn out the best tasting. There are thousand of apple varieties and just to grab a mix will sometimes give you an overpowering taste. It really seems to have some science to getting just the right blend. I asked an old-time apple farmers and cider maker what his mix is and he so kindly shared his knowledge. 2 parts Winesap, 1 part Johnathan and 1 part Red delicious. This is a great combo, but me being me, I always add a few different types of odd ball apples in the batch. This year I added 6-8 apple of these varieties; Pink Airlee, Banana and Fuji. With just these few additions, our cider seemed to have a little more mellow flavor. Always use mature, ripe, sound apples. Do not use unripe or windfalls. Immature apple make inferior cider and windfalls are loaded with undesirable bacteria which will contribute unpleasant off-flavored juice. One trick I have learned to get the most out of your apples is to let them sit, or “sweat” for a week or so. This will mellow and improve the flavor of the cider as well as increase the yield. Make sure you clean your apple well and get organic if possible.
Hot Cider, or also Known as Wassail
On cold nights I love make up a batch of hot sipping cider. I love the taste from our homemade cider so much better than the store grade. Besides, it’s so much better for you, but if you don’t make your own, look for cider and not the juice. I never measure, so you don’t have to be exact with this and all of the spices are whole. 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, 2 star anise, 10 allspice, 1-2 T dried orange peel. If you don’t have dried orange peel you can use clean fresh orange peels or even add fresh orange juice. About a 1/2 cup should do it. Put all the spices into a piece of 6×6″ cheese cloth, tie off and toss in 1/2 gallon of cider. Add 2-3 T brown sugar or honey can be used, depending on your taste and simmer for about 10 minutes. I don’t think I have ever timed it. I just wait until it smells good!