07 April 2020

Paraglider's simple cider

Paraglider's simple cider is the easiest and quickest ex-pat plonk you can make. It takes only 30 seconds of 'work' by you and 4 to 7 days work by the yeast (in which you play no active part!) to produce a very palatable dry sparkling cider. Here's what you have to do:

Buy a large clear plastic flagon of apple juice, typically 1.5 to 2 litres. Make sure the label states "no preservatives". Let it sit unopened for a day to come to room temperature. (This does not constitute work!) You will also need a drinking straw.
  1. Open the flagon and completely remove the inner foil seal (if any).
  2. With the drinking straw, enjoy the top two inches (5 cm) of apple juice. Waste not, want not! (The reason for this is to make some headroom in the container.)
  3. Carefully tip half a level teaspoon of dried yeast onto the surface of the juice, but do not shake or stir.
  4. Replace the cap. Tighten it, then back it off a quarter turn to allow gas to escape.
And that is it. The yeast will quickly re-hydrate and spread over the surface of the juice. Some will sink to the bottom. Within an hour you will see the first signs of bubbles rising. The fermentation rate will increase steadily and there will be a head of froth. Carbon dioxide gas, CO₂, escapes via the loose screw-cap. This stream of CO₂ also prevents any airborne spoilage organisms from entering the vessel.

After 4 to 7 days (this depends mainly on temperature) when the fermentation has died down to the occasional bubble, tighten the cap and place the flagon in the fridge. The cold halts the fermentation and also helps the yeast to sink and settle on the bottom as a sediment.

The cider can be drunk after a day in the fridge, though it will still be a little hazy. It will clear better if you pour it carefully into a new vessel leaving the sediment behind. It is best stored in the fridge tightly capped, until required.

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