Cider Information

Cider was made by every farmer who grew apples.  What the family didn’t drink themselves was sold to neighbors.  Typically, the apples used to make cider were the smaller varieties, whether tart or sweet.  The best cider was made using a mixture of three or four kinds of apples, with no more than fifty percent of the varieties being sweet.  The farmer chose ripe apples to make cider. The process was relatively simple:  The apples were washed, then placed whole and unpeeled into the hopper of the press. By turning the cast iron handle on the press, the apples were crushed by a round cylinder with metal teeth.  The resulting pulp fell into a container below which was slatted.  When the press screw, which was connected to a wooden pressing plate was turned, it exerted pressure on the pulp,. Juice and it and some of the pulp ran down into a bucket or barrel.  The resulting liquid, if drunk fresh, was called sweet cider.  Within a week or two, however, the sugars in sweet cider would begin to ferment, resulting in a slightly alcoholic beverage called hard cider.  On average one bushel of apples made half-a-gallon of cider.  Small bruised apples that were too tart for cider were used as livestock feed.



Bloom and Ripening Times of Heritage Apple Varieties 

Click link to purchase a pdf download of Jason Bowen's research on heritage apple bloom and ripening times.