08 April 2020

The supermarket is your friend

Ex-pat plonk shouldn't be a lot of work. Almost by definition, if you're in the ex-pat community, you've got a day job that probably isn't wine-making. You're likely to be living in a city apartment without a garden. You're unlikely to have a long enough contract even to contemplate cordoning off a little bit of desert for the cultivation of grapes or even dates. So, be grateful that other people have done so much of the grunt work for you.

Suppose someone presented you with several kilos of fresh apples to make cider, what would you have to do? You'd have to cut out any rotten parts, chop them into smallish chunks, crush them in a press (which you don't have), strain the juice through a muslin bag (which you don't have and an old shirt won't do), measure its gravity with a hydrometer (which you seem to have lost), add sugar if necessary, according to a look-up table (which seems to be in imperial units, unlike your kitchen scales)...  And you have to do all this very quickly to prevent oxidation, using sterilised equipment and containers to prevent contamination.

Alternatively, you can pop down to the supermarket and buy five litres of pure apple juice, safe in the knowledge that:
- The apples have been crushed in sterile conditions.
- The juice has been separated from the pulp by centrifugal filtration and is perfectly clear.
- The juice has been pasteurised to sterilise it and prevent spoilage.
- The sugar content can be read directly from the label.

Face it- you can't and shouldn't compete with the professionals. Supermarket apple juice will not make the world's best cider. The apples used to make it are not cider apples so the flavour will be different from, say, Bulmer's or Weston's. But it will be better than hashing and bashing with job lots of dubious fruit and makeshift equipment. And much easier.

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