You will want to choose apples that give you the tartness and color you prefer, and often, blending different varieties is the best way to accomplish this. Here are some basic characteristics of some common apple varieties:
- Red Delicious: Large, firm red apple with a sweet flavor.
- Yellow Delicious: Large, firm yellow apple with a sweet flavor.
- Jonathon: Medium, crisp semitart apple, with red near the top, descending to green lower down the fruit.
- Granny Smith: Medium/small, crisp, tart apple with green color.
- Gala: Medium, crisp semitart apple with yellow skin blushed with orange to red tinge.
Choose a blend from the above list, or shop the local produce/fruit market or grocery store shelves. If you lean toward a sweet juice, use a 3 sweet to 1 tart combination, or for medium sweetness, use a 2 sweet to 1 tart mix.
Clean your apples thoroughly, cutting out any bruises or damaged parts. As a rule, it is not recommended to use any fruit for cider you would not eat as it is.
Quarter the apples, leaving the skins on them for color and the nutrients that processing will release.
Puree the apple quarters in a food processor or blender completely.
Squeeze the pureed apple through a cheesecloth, extracting all of the juice possible. Store the cider in a sealed container below 40 degrees F for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for extended storage.
- Choose a variety of apples, and process each separately, then combine the juice to sample different flavors and see the difference in the colors you may produce using golden, green, and red apples.
- Thoroughly process the apples and squeeze all liquid through the cheesecloth to get all the juice with its nutrients from your fruit. Some solids will get through the cheesecloth, and the juice will have a cloudy appearance.
- For large batches of cider, you may choose to buy a cider press.
- Caution: pasteurize juice by heating to at least 160 F but not more than 185 F to destroy harmful bacteria such as e. coli. Use a food thermometer to determine the temperature. Infants, the elderly, and anyone with immune system disorders should NOT drink fresh unpasteurized apple juice.