September the unofficial start of fall
Autumn could be very well my favourite time of year. The air is no longer hot and humid, well mostly, the trees start to turn colours and the air smells different. Dare I say, fall like? My husband would just give me a look wondering what the heck I’m talking about… the air smells like fall. But it’s true and you know what I mean. The crisp, clean air. It’s awesome. Fall doesn’t officially start until the end of September but I think as soon as September starts people think about school and apples. Unfortunately, most apples (or the ones I like) take a little longer to ripen and don’t follow calendars, so I need to wait until the actual fall.
Currently we are now in the middle of picking apples. Normally, we go through the orchard a few times. The first time, we pick the ripe apples, and leave the ones that need a little bit more colour. (Side note – did you know apples get their colour from the sun? And they can get sunburnt if exposed for too long?? I can totally relate.) The second time we go through the orchard we pick the rest. This year we had a hail storm that pretty much hit everything, making all apples juice apples. Although disheartening, it does make it a little easier to pick as we don’t have to concern ourselves with colour, size or shape. It all goes into the bin to be made into juice.
Do I get all the juice? Definitely not, for two reasons. One, not all apples make good cider. I recently had a discussion with another cider maker and mentioned that I do not like any apple that is a cross with a delicious strain. That rules out crimson crisp, gala, ambrosia, golden delicious and of course red delicious apples. I’m not 100% sure what it is about it, but I’m just not a fan. I’ve tried, I really have, but to no avail so I now steer clear of it entirely. Reason two, is because it would be a lot of juice. I mean A LOT. More than I currently need as a fledgling cidery.
When do I make the actual cider, you may be wondering. Well, that’s in October, when the apples have sweated and I have all the specific apple varieties I want. I can’t wait!