Berries, berries, berries..
Hello all, as you know, the weather this summer was mild (at times was pretty shocking) and I would say compared to the past few years, is the worst so far. The season did start off promising, even as early as end of March / early April, it was scorching. I remember spending hours in the garden and enjoying the heat (2 to 3 weeks) and then came end of April/ early May, the weather remembered it was Ireland (lol) and changed dramatically. It never really picked itself back up consistently (although there were good days here and there) till end of September.
Now autumn, and so to my surprise (or not), when I went wild black berry picking, I found little or none. Instead of coming back home with an empty bucket, I decided to pick other berries. Thankfully, I found lots of elderberries, few blackberries and even fewer sloes. What better time to make a home made cider just in time for Christmas! With a handful of ingredients that you can find in the kitchen, an easy and simple cider can be made.
The quantities for the recipe below are guidelines and depends on how large your berries are, how sweet or sour you want the taste and the colour for your cider (amount of water, type of sugar-brown or white sugar).
Mix a small amount of warm water, sugar and yeast in a cup and set aside for 5 minutes until it starts to foam at the top.
Wash the berries and mash them to bring juices out.
Depending on how strong you want your cider, dissolve sugar in water under a low heat.
Pour the lukewarm sugar and water solution into the bucket with the berries and stir (check for consistency and taste). By now the yeast and sugar solution should be ready; pour into the bucket and stir again making sure it is completely mixed through.
Cover the bucket and let it do it’s thing for three weeks, making sure to stir every second day.
Strain with a cheese cloth and discard the berries. Let the cider sit again for a couple of hours for the yeast to sink to the bottom; strain again, making sure you pour the yeast at the bottom out. Do this a couple of times until there is little or no trace of yeast left. Bottle, chill and serve cold. Enjoy!
Note: If you do not want your cider to turn into alcohol, do not add yeast, once your berries are mashed. Let it sit only a few hours with the sugar and water solution to infuse, then strain.