So you’re interested in creating your own cider, and want to know what the best apples to use are. The great thing about cider is, any variety of apple can be used! All apples are able to make delicious cider, but historically, some varieties of apple were grown specifically for cider making, and thus they are referred to as ‘cider apples’.
There are a variety of apples known for their cider making, including the Foxwhelp, Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill and Dabinett. The main difference between cider apples and those found in gardens are the level of tannin within them. Tannin is a bitter tasting, organic substance present amongst all apples, some more than others. Cider apples contain a lot of tannin, hence they produce a distinctive, bitter flavour.
Garden apples, on the other hand, are usually grown for their popular and sweet flavour, and they have very low levels of tannin. However, often a huge mix of different apple varieties are used in the process of making cider in order to get the perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavours.
A lot of people who wish to create ciders at home use crab apples in order to add more tannins to the cider. Crab apples are a great way of providing the tannins that garden apples would normally lack. If you’re an avid cider maker and create it often, it would be great to grow a crab apple tree in your garden. The great thing about crab apples is that they thrive in the British climate, look great when the blossom blooms and attracts bees to pollinate.
Different mixes of apples will create different flavours in your cider, and there is really no way to know how it will come out. Take a note of the proportions you’re using as you go along, as if something comes out perfect, you’ll want to know how to make it perfect again!
You may find upon tasting that your cider is a bit too sweet. To mask this, add more crab apples to throw in some more bitterness into the mix. Picking your apples earlier in the season can also help to keep your cider from becoming too sweet.
Preparing your apples for cider making need not be a worry, and there is little that needs to be done in order to prepare. It is important that during preparation, any rotten apples are removed. Using these in your cider will mean your brew is undrinkable, not to mention the foul smell! Many people think they need to prepare their apples for cider making by peeling and coring the apples, but this is simply not needed. All you need to do is wash your apples in clean, cold water to ensure there are no pesticides on them, even if you don’t use them yourself.
To conclude, the best thing about cider making is that you can simply use any apple, or variety of apples, to get a brew that’s exactly right for you. If you’re interested in creating your own ciders, here at Vigo Presses, we’ve got you covered. We have a range of cider making kits available in order to make the process as easy, and fun, as possible! To find out more, get in touch with a member of the Vigo Presses team today via our Contact page or by giving us a call on 01404 890093.