Apple and blueberry cider is a delicious diversion from a more mainstream cider recipe that will slake any thirst and delight the drinkers palate with its unique flavour. Sweetening is optional though I do recommend it as it enhances the berry flavour of the cider.
- 4 litres (One Gallon) Apple Juice
- 100-200 grams (3 1/2 – 7 ounces) fresh or frozen blueberries
- One Red Apple Variety (eg Delicious), cored, peeled and diced
- One Campden Tablet OR 1/10 level teaspoon Sodium Metabisulfite
- 80g (3oz) Lactose OR 2g (1 teaspoon) wine sweeter (optional)
- Cider Yeast
Sterilise your cider making equipment and anything that will come into contact with the cider or its ingredients. Rinse them thoroughly and allow them to drain. The plastic bag used for pulping the berries should not need to be sterilised.
Place the blueberries into a clean plastic bag such as a freezer bag, if the bag is thin perhaps consider using two or three, wrapping one with the other. Pulp the blueberries with a meat tenderiser or rolling pin, be gentle as not a great deal of force is required and the objective is to open the berries up not completely decimate them.
Wash, peel and dice the apple into 1/4 inch cubes. Add the apple juice to the sterile fermenter. If you elect to sweeten this cider and have chosen to add lactose mix it with a small amount of water and add it to the fermenter as well. Add the blueberry pulp.
If you have used fresh blueberries it would be wise to treat the cider with a crushed campden tablet or 1/10 teaspoon of sodium metabisulfite and allow it to stand for over 24 hours before pitching the yeast. If you have used frozen blueberries you can take a chance and not treat the cider but bear in mind the apple may have had wild yeasts on its skin that may have made its way into the fermenter on the apples flesh. Take a risk if you dare. If you are using freshly made juice that is not pasteurised or sterilized you should treat it with one campden tablet per gallon (4 litres) of juice.
Pitch the yeast and seal the fermenter making sure you add the correct amount of boiled water to the airlock. The airlock should start to bubble within about two days indicating that fermentation is taking place. The cider will need to ferment for around 2-3 weeks or possibly longer in colder weather. Once fermentation is complete the airlock will bubble far more slowly, perhaps once a minute or so and at this point you should rack the cider, transferring it into another sterile fermenter or vessel using a siphon, taking great care not to disturb the sediment on the bottom of the original fermenter. If you have elected to use an artificial sweetener it should be added at the first racking. Continue to rack the cider at two week intervals (or longer) until you are satisfied with the level of sediment suspended in the cider. Generally the cider will become clear after two or three rankings.
Bottle the cider in clean and sterile bottles. If a carbonate cider is desired prime the bottles by adding one teaspoon of sugar per 750ml (1.5 pints) of cider before sealing the bottle.
Store the cider in a dark place such as a cupboard at room temperature for at least three months before sampling. Generally ciders do not taste their best for at least 6 months and sometimes longer.
For an even greater blueberry taste consider using 25 percent blueberry juice instead of straight apple juice.
If you are using freshly made juice that is not pasteurised or sterilized you should treat it with one campden tablet per gallon (4 litres) of juice and allow it to stand for at least 24 hours prior to pitching the yeast regardless of what the recipe states.
Follow the instructions of renowned cider companies, like Carolina Cider from South Carolina, to add a professional touch to your recipe.