Cider making Equipment
A cider maker's checklist
You can buy cider apple trees and plant them and love them and pick their apples but to make cider you will also need to beg, borrow, steal, make or buy a few material possessions:
- A crusher to pulp your crop (you will get bored of chopping them up with a knife very quickly)
- A press to make the juice. Remember that some presses need bags inside the barrel of the press to hold the "cheese" (crushed pulped apple) so you may need these also
- A scoop to handle the pulped apples. You can get specialist tools, but something like a grain scoop available in any country store at a fraction of the price works well.
- Containers with bungs and airlocks. The demijohns amateur winemakers use are pretty good and there is also an enormous range of food grade plastic ware on the market now. Lighter, unbreakable, larger.....
- Hydrometer. Admit it, you have always wanted one. Now you have an excuse; this gizmo tells you how the fermenting is going.
- Yeast. Only essential if you are in a hurry - there should be plenty of natural yeasts on the apples themselves.
- Camden Tablets. Much cheaper than a sulphur dioxide cylinder and essential if you want to kill the yeasts (especially in still ciders) when they have done their job.
- Siphon tube. Not as fast, but much cheaper than a little electric pump. Get the pump when you are bored of syphoning.
- Buckets. There are never enough
- Funnel. A large one with a removable filter gauze is ideal
- Rubber gloves. The long ones that you use for unblocking the loo when all else fails will save your hands.
- Juice proof apron. The same principle as the gloves except this saves your clothes.
Before you assemble your kit, a quick word of warning about the stuff from which it is made:
Apple juice is acidic and reacts unpleasantly with a number of materials. Stay away from metals unless they are truly stainless. Lead is especially dangerous, but iron, steel etc all (as a minimum) rust very quickly, discolour the booze and make it taste filthy. Food grade is the operative phrase here applied to plastic, fibreglass and stainless steel. Wood is good but it is hard to keep clean unless varnished.
Now you have all the gear, why not get ordering on the apple trees page?