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Growing Cider Apples--Advice Needed

 
gardener
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Hello friends,

In my efforts to preserve some homestead/old school genetics,  I find myself planting pear and apple varieties that are used for Cider and Perry. But, I know very little about what to plant and in what quantity. I was told that Perry pears and Cider apples are only supposed to be 10 to 20 percent of the mix, so the tannins are well adjusted. Growing up I've made lots of cider but it was always for home use and from table apples. We made due with whatever apples were available.

This would be for sweet and hard ciders as well as vinegar,  for both home use and an income stream.
 
pollinator
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There are a few cider apple varieties that can be the sole apple used in a cider. I did a fair amount of research on them when I decided I was going to make hard cider. The old English varieties are the best.
 
master gardener
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I hope to make some cider soon also, as I love fresh apple juice!

I don't have any personal experience making cider, just what I've heard from some people that have made regular cider (apple juice).

Like Elle mentioned, I've heard it can be made from a single variety, and I've also seen people mix varieties.

It seems like apples with a good, kind of strong, fruity flavor are generally the ones that can be used for cider from just that one variety. Not all of the ones that taste like this make good cider, but the ones that I've heard that produce good cider by themselves seem to generally have that flavor profile. I've heard of strong, bitter, or high tannin varieties being combined with sweeter or more balanced flavor varieties to create a more neutral and pleasant overall flavor like you mentioned, but I haven't heard of any exact recipes though.

I've heard some cider apples can also be very good for fresh eating, which could be nice to have multiple uses for the variety, like also for cooking and drying.

I hope you get some tasty cider soon, would love to see updates of how it goes!

 
James Landreth
gardener
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I'll keep you updated! I've made lots of cider before, but always from whatever was around, as I said. Gravenstein is a good single varietal cider. I'm trying to figure out what trees to plant and how many, so ratios will be relatively balanced.
 
gardener
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Our Arkansas Black Apples make great cider, they are a long storage apple that is great eating too.

Most cider is made from a 20% cider apples, 80% other varieties. One of the best ciders I've ever had was 20% cider apples (I don't know which varieties) 50% Johnathan 30% Granny Smith. It was very nice, had a good kick from the alcohol too.

Redhawk
 
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Hi James:

Depending upon where you located here in western WA, you may want to check in with one of the chapters of the WCFS.  I belong to the Olympic Orchard Society and several members of the OOS are big cider makers.  If you're not familiar with them already, WCFS would be a good resource for.

https://wcfs.org/

-Michael
 
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