It’ll soon be autumn and for cidermakers autumn means nothing more than harvest time. The apple is the be-all and end-all of our craft so it is really important that the apples we put into our cider are at their peak when it comes to quality and ripeness.
We’ll very soon be inviting locals to bring their ripe apples and pears to our cidery in exchange for cider.
We can only accept apples that are:
· sound, that is to say whole, with unbroken skin, and not rotting.
· They must be firm, with only minimal bruising.
· pretty clean, but unwashed unless they were muddy.
· definitely no animal faeces!
It is often mooted that we use windfalls. Windfalls are perfectly fine, as long as they adhere to the above. If they fall on concrete or mud, they can hide stones which will break our mill.
When apples fall they are often at the peak of ripeness, but not all the time. Some may fall early because they are not quite right, or it has been particularly breezy. So we still need to check if they are ripe.
So, what is ripeness? When developing, apples are full of starch, but over the summer in the sun and warmth this starch turns to the sugars that will eventually turn into alcohol. The ripening can continue even when apples have fallen to the ground, but this is only desirable, from the urban makers point of view, if the apples can lay on a lawn and free from the gaze of slugs and birds.
Apples become ripe at different times and vary year to year and from variety to variety, though whatever the year, varieties tend to ripen in the same order.
Some of the earliest in our area are Discovery (pictured), a beautiful flat shaped apple with a red flush over a yellow green base. Some of the latest are the ubiquitous Bramley Seedling and Golden Delicious.
To see if your apples are ripe give one a gentle twist, if it comes away without tugging, with the stalk and no leaves, it’s probably ripe. Cut it open and look for deep brown pips. If the pips have any white on them they are not yet ready. Don’t forget that some parts of the tree will get more sun so ripeness can vary on the tree.
So, if your apples are ripe and on the floor, collect them up and store in baskets or cardboard boxes in a cool and airy place, checking regularly and discarding any that start to go off.
If you are sure that they are ripe and still on the tree leave them until just before our next Apple Drop Off Day. We cannot use Bramley apples until October so please don't bring any until then.
So far the dates we have set aside are:
18th September 10am until 3pm (no Bramleys please)
2nd October 10am until 3pm
If these dates aren't suitable or you are unable to pick your apples please get in touch as we have limited appointments to pick or collect.
Apples and pears can be exchanged for cider at the following rates
500ml bottle per 10kg of fruit delivered (offered immediately)
500ml bottle per 15kg collected (cider delivered later)
500ml bottle per 25kg picked (cider delivered later)
Larger packages for larger quantities of fruit.
18th September 10am til 3pm
2nd October 10am til 3pm
Drop us a line if you have any further questions!