Apple Cider, 1820's style

Discussion in 'Miscellany' started by Baywing, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. Baywing

    Baywing

    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Can't figure out where to post this, so why not here? Yesterday, I was supposed to go on a camera club outing to a nearby historic village. Maybe due to the wind, no one else showed, it was their loss.
    [​IMG]
    I found some folk making apple cider the 1820's way. The day before, they had crushed about 15 bushels of apples in a nut mill (OK, even they don't know why it's called that!) This day, they were using the mash to make a cheese, which is a block of anything that is to have the liquid pressed from it. They were using a frame and layers of straw to hold the cheese together. After a few hours, they were ready to press:
    [​IMG]
    As the apple squeezin's ran into a bucket, one of the guys ladled the juice into a keg for fermentation, straining thru some straw which he guarranteed to remove 12% of all bug parts:
    [​IMG]
    After a week, the fermentation process was in full swing, and last week's keg was bubbling nicely:
    [​IMG]
    It is the alcohol that kills all the nasty bacteria, as you could imagine, conditions aren't all that sterile. This cider was the main drink of the time, as it was readily available and safer than the water.
     
  2. That's really cool! Thanks for sharing.

    I am glad that 88% of the dead bugs are still in there. You wouldn't want to lose any of the protein, now would you?
     
  3. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama
    That's really interesting. Did you get to try a sample?
     
  4. Baywing

    Baywing

    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Actually, the protein part is valid, yeast needs protein, too and in the old days, they would add a mouse or a cup of animal blood. Gives it that extra little kick!
    No Leigh, I didn't get to taste any as it wasn't done yet. After fermentation, the liquid has to be siphoned off (leaving the sediment behind) into another keg. I don't know if my constitution could hand the final product. As an alcoholic (recovered) even the 6% in the cider wouldn't sit right with me.
     
  5. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama

    I think w/bug parts or animal blood, many people wouldn't have the right constitution for such a beverage...regardless of their recovered status. :eek:
     
  6. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Great history, teriffic machinery and great story.

    Images fit the mood very well. Beautiful. Color is awesone.

    Thank You for sharing.
     
  7. Baywing

    Baywing

    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Thanks, Gale. I really love the look and feel of wood, especially when lit by warm light. I regret having to use flash for those, but the place didn't allow tripods inside the buildings. I managed a few shots on film under natural light, I should know how they turned out later this week. There are days when I can handhold 1/4 sec with decent results, not sure if Sunday was one of them!
     
  8. Rob

    Rob

    873
    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    I had a quick Google,

    I was surprised at how many nuts are ground for oil, cooking etc.

    http://www.foodsubs.com/Nutmeals.html
     
  9. Baywing

    Baywing

    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    The problem is, what they are using isn't usable for nuts. It's too big and the nuts would just pass through unmolested. It's also not sturdy enough to handle hard objects. I'll trust the experts there, if they don't know, I sure don't!
     
  10. cmpalmer

    cmpalmer

    301
    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    The photos, particularly the first one, are awesome. It looks like a 19th century painting.

    I've read that the 6% alchohol in the cider could be boosted by ice distillation -- you repeatedly freeze the cider and remove the ice from the top until it won't freeze anymore.

    I've tried bottled hard cider, but I've would like to try some home-made sometime. I did try this recipe for home-made brewed ginger ale (supposedly only about .4% alcohol) that turned out quite well. Good enough that I've made a few more times since. I'm not sure about the 0.4% since I didn't do a hydrometer test with it, but it tastes a bit like Mike's Hard Lemonade with a gingery bite to it. You could probably make your own hard cider with a similar method.
     
  11. Baywing

    Baywing

    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Thanks Chris. The quality of light this time of year is very nice. The only cider they had back then was what we now call hard, it was the alcohol that was needed to kill off all the bacteria that got in there during the process. You could easily make your own cider, a few bushels of apples, let them sit around until the juices are flowing, just not rotting. Mash them up, let them sit in the open overnight, that will allow the yeast floating in the air to get a start. Next day, press out the liquid and put in a keg. Make sure the opening is up, let the CO2 escape, add a little water as needed to float out surface debris. Let ferment for about 2 weeks, siphon liquid to new clean keg, leaving sediment behind. That's the way they did it, usually about 4-6% alcohol. The guy making this batch said last year he made some with 2 varieties of apple and some pear and claimed it was great. Guess you can use almost anything. You could also use a commercial yeast if you don't want what's floating about.
     
  12. Vienna Pics

    Vienna Pics

    Nov 14, 2005
    Virgnia
    Hello,

    The first photo does look like a painting - nice colors and contrast - you could not have staged a better looking photo. Great job!!
     
  13. patrickh

    patrickh

    666
    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    Although they have somewhat more modern equipment, there are still farmers in the West of the UK who make hard cider, known locally as scrumpy. I remember as a kid being told about them putting a mouse or rat in the barrel for fermentation. The cider there from the "wood" comes out cloudy - I never asked why. Great drink - especially on a dakr and stormy night.
     
  14. cmpalmer

    cmpalmer

    301
    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    I've heard it called scrumble as well (at least in Terry Prachett's Discworld books). It's made from apples . . . mostly.
     
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