Cider Making with Polly Murray
Cider making course with Clyde Valley Orchard Group as part of their initiative to revive the Clyde Valley orchards
A drizzly November Saturday in 2014 saw a dozen of us dressed in our oldest clothes, gathered for a practical cider making course at Crossford village hall. The course was organised by Clyde Valley Orchard Group, and funded by CAVLP as part of their initiative to revive the orchards and orchard skills in the Clyde Valley.
After a brief talk about the theory, and safety precautions, we fed the apples Polly had brought into the macerator (a sort of giant food processor), then bult up a sandwich of layers of smashed apple, wrapped in stiff net, separated by pieces of plywood. These apple layers are called ‘cheeses.’
The layers were then squeezed using a bottle jack, and the juice ran out of the cheeses and down into a container. It was very sweet.
We learned how to measure the specific gravity of the juice, and do calculations to see how much sugar needed to be added. We were each given our own glass demijohn to fill. We added a ‘killer’ yeast which kills off unwanted strains of yeast that could be in the air or on the apples. We learned how we should care for our cider till next May, when we hope it will be fit to drink. Clyde Valley Orchard Group hold their annual cider making contest around then, so we expect fierce competition for next year’s trophy.
- Anne Armstrong, Clyde Valley Orchards Group