Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cooking Class: Hard Cider

I had the recent pleasure of attending a class at Urban Farm & Feed / Wasatch Front Farmers Market on how to make hard cider at home.  The basics are a fermenting kit, a juicer, and a bunch of apples.  It's pretty darn neat!  Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more upcoming classes.  The fermenting kit can be used for all sorts of other things too, like beer and fruit wine.  This makes me look longingly at the still-dormant tiny grape vines and fruit trees and dream of summer.
Finding local cooking classes can be super fun - it's a good way to try something new, meet interesting people, and ask questions you've always wondered about (such as exactly how to get bottle caps on bottles).  Think about what kind of class you like and learn best at and start looking for them.  There are hands-on classes, like this one, or classes where the students watch the chef and take notes.  Some are for specific recipes, some are for techniques.  Many offer samples of the recipes that were cooked or even include a take-home of the product being made.  The lucky students here went home with a bucket of future hard cider to enjoy and the equipment to make plenty more. 

Here are some shots of the cider making!

First, the stars of our show, apples. 

To ferment things, you need a fermenting kit.  Sterilize everything! 

Then, slice a bunch of apples.  Maybe some extra for eating.  They are pretty tasty. 

Run them through a juicer.  I might be the only person in the country who's never used one (at least as far as I can tell from Pinterest) and they totally fascinate me.  They separate the juice from the pulp and seeds.  Apparently chickens love pulp and seeds.   

Then it's off to the fermentation bucket with special yeast monsters and a thingamawhatsit to allow gas to escape.  When the monsters are done, the right yeast is added.

This bottle held cider for the next photo, and can now be washed, sterilized, and re-used for more cider!

Results! Okay it wasn't *quite* that fast, as the cider does need many weeks to ferment.  Our awesome teacher Paige had made some beforehand that was ready to pop open for the class.  Thanks Paige, see you for the next class!