Vintage Cider Apples
Find out more growing your own vintage cider apples
Vintage Cider Applesfruits | grow your own | preserving | foraging
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in real British cider
: the wave of well advertised industrial ciders (naming no names that end in –ers) has been an unforeseen boost for true cider makers and inspired people to make their own.
is easy, low-tech, high people power work that has real potential to make a positive impact to neighbourhoods: neglected apple trees are a common sight in both the city and the countryside. In theory, any apple can be used for making cider and harvesting and pressing is a great way to bring people together to use an often wasted
resource. Many of the very best ciders are made from blends – mixing different varieties of apples before or after pressing or fermentation.
But some apples are markedly better for making cider
. They tend to have characteristics that won’t make them popular as a dessert, such as tough, dry, stringy or mealy flesh, blotchy yellow skin and a bitter flavour.
Vintage Cider Apples
Vintage cider apples can be used for making a delicious cider all on their own. The term vintage in this context has nothing to do with the age of the apple cultivar – if a new one was bred tomorrow, with all the right qualities for making a full bodied cider, it too would be a vintage variety. However, the reality is that all the vintage breeds are fairly old.
Apples are put into four groups when being considered for cider: Bittersweet
. The bitter element of the first two is the tannins
: these have the astringent flavours that make the apples unpalatable when fresh and full bodied after fermentation - brews need these tannins to make really rich tasting ciders. Tannins also contribute to a good colour. As a vague rule of thumb, sweet is most dessert apples and sharp is a cooking apple.
Most people consider the best cider brew to be bittersweet – this is the traditional West Country cider. Kentish ciders tend to be more on the sharp side and most vintage cider apples are classed as either bittersweet or sharp.
It is important to stress that "the best cider" is a purely subjective idea: some people’s taste is for sweet ciders that others find a bit sickly, some people like a sharp tang while others appreciate the rich body and somehow cleansing sensation of a more bitter drink.
The beauty of a vintage cider apple is that you can mix it with just about any other combination of random apples from your area and get a reliably tasty cider
. Growing one tree is enough to make excellent cider on its own and it can enable a group of people with a range of surplus apples to make some seriously good cider together. Here are some of the best:
(Bittersweet) - Perhaps the all time home growers great. They aren’t productive enough to please most farmers, but are fine for everyone else. Packing real flavour, these apples are all you need to make the best cider around.
(Bittersweet) - A workhorse of a tree with big crops, this one needs special treatment called cuvage to produce a full-bodied drink but is excellent for blending with other apples.
/ Black Dabinett
(Bittersweet) - Very popular with real cider farmers, great on its own or blended.
(Bittersweet) - A fruity, superb cider apple.
(Sweet) - A very useful apple that is usually blended with other fruit, but which makes the best sweet cider on its own.
(Sharp) The best sharp variety around.
Other great ones include the Broxwood Foxwhelp, Harry Masters Jersey, Medaille D’Or, Major, Fair Maid of Devon and Sercombes Natural.
If you have a well drained, sunny spot, you can grow a vintage cider apple tree.
Thanks to Ashridge Trees
for helping with this piece. Click here for details on the cider apple trees
listed here on their website.
Article Published: 09:57, 4th Mar 2010
Related ArticlesStoring Apples
Find out how to store applesArticle Published: 13:23, 28th Jul 2011fruits | preserving | grow your ownGrowing Outdoor Tomato Varieties
Tomato plants which will survive outdoors in the UKArticle Published: 11:56, 25th May 2010fruits | grow your ownPlums and Damsons
Find out more about plums and damsonsArticle Published: 09:58, 17th Aug 2010fruits | grow your own | educationPear and Lemon Jam
Instructions for making pear and lemon jamArticle Published: 15:59, 27th Jul 2011preserving | fruits | grow your own | recipesMaking Jam
An introduction to making your own jamArticle Published: 08:33, 22nd May 2010preserving | fruits | grow your own | recipesMake Tomato Passata
Preserve tomatoes by making delicious tomato passataArticle Published: 12:00, 25th May 2010preserving | fruits | grow your own | recipesMaking Apricot Jam
Instructions for making your own apricot jamArticle Published: 16:44, 26th Jul 2011preserving | fruits | grow your own | recipesMaking Marmalade
An introduction to making your own marmaladeArticle Published: 21:08, 9th Jan 2011preserving | fruits | grow your own | recipesGrape Jelly Recipe
Make your own delicious grape jellyArticle Published: 12:11, 10th Jan 2011recipes | fruits | preservingGrow and Make Harissa Paste
A recipe for harissa paste with ingredients you can grow yourselfArticle Published: 12:57, 30th Jun 2011grow your own | recipe | preserving