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Making cider and perry
To make cider After the apples are gathered from the trees they are ground into what is called pommage, either by means of a common pressing stone, with a circular trough, or by a cider mill, which is either driven by the hand, or by horse-power. When the pulp is thus reduced to a great degree of fineness, it is conveyed to the cider press, where it is formed by pressure into a kind of cake, which is called the cheese.
This is effected by placing clear, sweet straw, or hair cloths between the layers of pommage till there is a pile of 10 or 12 layers. This pile is then subjected to different degrees of pressure in succession, till all the must or juice is squeezed from the pommage. This juice, after being strained in a coarse hair-sieve, is then put either into open vats or close casks, and the pressed pulp is either thrown away or made to yield a weak liquor called washings.
After the liquor has undergone the proper fermentation in these close vessels, which may be best effected in a temperature of from 40o to 60o, and which may be known by its appearing tolerably clear, and having a vinous sharpness upon the tongue, any further fermentation must be stopped by racking off the pure part into open vessels exposed for a day or two in a cool situation. After this the liquor must again be put into casks and kept in a cool place during winter. The proper time for racking may always be known by the brightness of the liquor, the discharge of the fixed air, and the appearance of a thick crust formed of fragments of the reduced pulp. The liquor should always be racked off anew, as often as a hissing noise is heard, or as it extinguishes a candle held to the bung-hole.
When a favorable vinous fermentation has been obtained, nothing more is required than to fill up the vessels every 2 or 3 weeks, to supply the waste by fermentation. On the beginning of March the liquor will be bright and pure and fit for final racking, which should be done in fair weather. When the bottles are filled they should be set by uncorked till morning, when the corks must be driven in tightly, secured by wire or twine and melted rosin, or any similar substance.
To make Devonshire Cider
Prefer the bitter sweet apples, mixed with mild sour, in the proportion oft one-third. Gather them when ripe, and lay them in heaps in the orchard. Then take them to the crushing engine, made of iron rollers at top and of stone underneath; after passing through which they are received into large tubs or sieves, and are then called pommage. They are afterwards laid on the vat in alternate layers of the pommage and clean straw, called reeds. They are then pressed, the juice running through a hair sieve. After the cider is pressed out it is put into hogsheads, where it remains for 2 or 3 days previously to fermenting. To stop the fermentation it is drawn off into a clean vessel, but if the fermentation be very strong, 2 or 3 cans of cider are put into a clean vessel, and a match of brimstone burnt in it; it is then agitated, by which the fermentation of that quantity is completely stopped. The vessel is then nearly filled, the fermentation of the whole is checked, and the cider becomes fine; but if, on the first operation, the fermentation is not checked, it is repeated till it is so, and continued from time to time till the cider is in a quiet state for drinking.
Some persons, instead of deadening a small quantity with a match, as above directed, put from 1 to 2 pints of an article called stum (bought of the wine coopers) into each hogshead, but the system of racking as often as the fermentation appears, is generally preferred by the cider manufacturers of Devonshire, England.
About 6 sacks, or 24 bus., of apples, are used for a hogshead of 63 galls. During the process, if the weather is warm, it will be necessary to carry it on in the shade, in the open air, and by every means keep it as cool as possible.
In 9 months it will be in condition for bottling or drinking; if it continue thick, use some isinglass finings, and if at any time it ferments and threatens acidity, the cure is to rack it and leave the head and sediment.
The apples are reduced to mucilage, by beating them in a stone trough (one of those used at pumps for watering horses) with pieces of ashpoles, used in the manner that potatoes are mashed. The press consists of a strong box, 3 feet square, and 20 inches deep, perforated on each side with small auger or gimblet holes. It is placed on a frame of wood, projecting 3 inches beyond the base of the box. A groove is cut in this projection 1 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch deep, to convey the juice when pressed out of the box into a receiving pail. This operation is performed in the following manner: The box is filled alternately with strata of fresh straw and mashed fruit, in the proportion of 1 inch of straw to 2 inches of mucilage; these are piled up 1 foot higher than the top of the box, and care is taken in packing the box itself, to keep the fruit and straw about 1 inch from the sides of the box, which allows the juice to escape freely. A considerable quantity of the liquor will run off without any pressure. This must be applied gradually at first, and increased regularly towards the conclusion. A box of the above dimensions will require about 2 tons weight to render the residuum completely free from juice.
(The residuum is excellent food for pigs, and peculiarly acceptable to them.)
The necessary pressure is obtained very easily, and in a powerful manner, by the compound lever pressing upon a lid or sink made of wood, about 2 inches thick, and rendered sufficiently strong by 2 cross-bars. It is made to fit the opening of the box exactly, and as the levers force the lid down they are occasionally slacked or taken off, and blocks of wood are placed on the top of the lid, to permit the levers to act, even after the lid has entered the box itself. Additional blocks are repeated, until the whole juice is extracted. The pressure may be increased more or less, by adding or diminishing the weight suspended at the extremity of the lever.
The liquor thus obtained is allowed to stand undisturbed 12 hours, in open vessels, to deposit sediment. The pure juice is then put into clean casks, and placed in a proper situation to ferment, the temperature being from 55o to 60o. The fermentation will commence sooner or later, depending chiefly on the temperature of the apartment where the liquor is kept; in most cases, during the first 3 or 4 days, but sometimes it will require more than a week to begin this process. If the fermentation begins early and proceeds rapidly, the liquor must be racked off, and put into fresh casks in 2 or a days, but if this does not take place at an early period, and proceeds slowly, 5 or 6 days may elapse before it is racked. In general it is necessary to rack the liquor at least twice. If, notwithstanding, the fermentation continues briskly, the racking must be repeated, otherwise the vinous fermentation, by proceeding too far may terminate in acetous fermentation, when vinegar would be the result.
In racking off the liquor it is necessary to keep it free of sediment, and the scum or yeast produced by the fermentation. A supply of spare liquor must be reserved to fill up the barrels occasionally, while the fermentation continues. As soon as this ceases, the barrels should be bunged up closely and the bungs covered with rosin, to prevent the admission of air. If the cider is weak, it should remain in the cask about 9 months; if strong, 12 or 18 months is necessary before it should be bottled. To Manage Cider and Perry.
To fine and improve the flavor of 1 hogshead take 1 gal. of good French brandy, with 1/2 oz. of cochineal, 1 lb. of alum, and 3 lbs. sugar-candy; bruise them all well in a mortar, and infuse them in the brandy for a day or two, then mix the whole with the cider, and stop it close for 5 or 6 months. After which, if fine, bottle it off.
Cider or perry, when bottled in hot weather should be left a day or two uncorked, that it may get flat; but if too flat in the cask, and soon wanted for use, put into each bottle a small lump or two of sugar-candy, 4 or 5 raisins, or a small piece of raw beef, any of which will much improve the liquor, and make it brisker.
Cider should be well corked and waxed, and packed upright in a cool place. A few bottles may always be kept in a warmer place to ripen and be ready for use.
To make Cheap Cider from Raisins
Take 14 lbs. of raisins with the stalks, wash them out in 4 or 5 waters, till the water remains clear; then put them into a clean cask with the head out, and put 6 galls. of good water upon them; after which cover it well up, and let it stand 10 days. Then rack it off into another clean cask, which has a brass cock in it, and in 4 or 5 days’ time it will be fit for bottling. When it has been in the bottles 7 or 8 days, it will be fit for use. A little coloring should be added when putting into the cask the second time. The raisins may afterwards be used for vinegar.
To make Perry
Perry is made after the same manner as cider only from pears, which must be quite dry. The best pears for this purpose are such as are least fit for eating, and the redder they are the better.
Observations on Cider
From the great diversity of soil and climate in the United States, and the almost endless variety of its apples, it follows that much diversity of taste and flavor will necessarily be found in the cider that is made from them.
To make good cider the following general, but important rules should be attended to. They demand a little more trouble than the ordinary mode of collecting and mashing apples of all sorts, rotten and sound, sweet and sour, dirty and clean, from the tree and the soil, and the rest of the slovenly process usually employed; but in return they produce you a wholesome, high-flavored, sound, and palatable liquor, that always commands an adequate price, instead of a solution of ”villainous compounds,” in a poisonous and acid wash, that no man in his senses will drink.
General Rules for making Cider
1. Always choose perfectly ripe and sound fruit.
2. Pick the apples by hand. An active boy with a bag slung over his shoulders, will soon clear a tree. Apples that have lain any time on the soil contract an earthy taste, which will always be found in the cider.
3. After sweating, and before being ground, wipe them dry, and if any are found bruised or rotten, put them in a heap by themselves, for an inferior cider to make vinegar.
4. Always use hair-cloths instead of straws, to place between the layers of pommage. The straw when heated gives a disagreeable taste to the cider.
5. As the cider runs from the press, let it pass through a hair sieve into a large open vessel that will hold as much juice as can be expressed in one day. In a day, or sometimes less, the pumice will rise to the top, and in a short time grow very thick; when little white bubbles break through it draw off the liquor by a spigot placed about three inches from the bottom, so that the lees may be left quietly behind.
6. The cider must be drawn off into very clean sweet casks, and closely watched. The moment the white bubbles before mentioned are perceived rising at the bunghole, rack it again. When the fermentation is completely at an end, fill up the cask with cider, in all respects like that already contained in it, and bung it up tight; previous to which a tumbler of sweet-oil may be poured into the bung hole.
Sound, well-made cider, that has been produced as described, and without any foreign mixtures, excepting always that of good cogniac brandy (which added to it in the proportion of 1 gal. to 30, greatly improves it), is a pleasant, cooling and useful beverage.
- From the Household Cyclopedia,1881
- Cider Cool Off the Press (Bittersweet, Volume I, No. 4, Summer 1974)