[Sca-cooks] Historical Apples - substitutions for

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Wed Oct 29 18:28:36 PDT 2008

Femke, thanks for your detailed answers to my comments and questions.  
You also said:

<<< If you're interested in making some, you might try some of the  
commercial varieties first.  I have a few favorites:

And, if you can find it, my personal favorite, K draft Cider:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K_cider >>>

I'll have to look for these. I may have found Blackthorne in the  
Pennsic area. Mostly I've seen other brands. Most of which, like the  
commercial meads, I've been less than impressed with. On the meads,  
I've found I have to check carefully that I'm even getting a beverage  
based on honey, instead of grape wine with honey added. :-(  Many of  
the SCA meads I've had have been superior to the commercial  
varieties. I don't remember having that many homemade ciders.

 > And I suspect most of the apples sold in my stores are likely
 > chosen because they are better eaten fresh, or perhaps in pies,
 > although that usage may be falling as well. I've had abysmal luck
 > making cider when I tried using fresh apples or even apple juice, but
 > what were the good cider apple varieties in period or even today?

See above, Greenmantle Nursery's site.  Off the cuff I'd guess your  
attempts had way too much sugar and too little malic acid to be  
palatable. >>>

I wish I'd had enough luck with ciders that the fruit variety was my  
problem. The first time, not having a fruit press I tried to juice  
the apples in my blender. Didn't chop the apples very well and didn't  
yield much juice. I tried adding water to help the blender chop  
things up but it got too diluted and the only thing I got was soupy,  
lumpy liquid which started growing white fuzzy stuff. I've heard  
recently that using apple juice which has had vitamin C added as a  
preservative won't work. That may have been my next problem. Again  
more fuzzy stuff growing in the liquid.  Next time I did get a good  
fermentation, but it tasted like it was turning into vinegar. I put  
it back in the refrigerator and forgot about it. Several weeks later  
I decided to take the bottles out to the compost pit to dispose of  
the experiment.  When I popped the top of the Grosch bottle to pour  
it out, I realized why you should make sure the bottle is pointed  
away. The top went off like a bullet followed by a strong spray of  
foam.  The last cider I made, and the best, I had made a mulled cider  
for an SCA revel. The turnout was much lower than expected, and I  
poured the mulled cider back in the gallon jug. Since I didn't have  
room in the refrigerator I left it out. A few days later I noticed a  
few bubbles rising to the top in the jug. Not great cider but  
passible for an accident and better than my intentional attempts.  On  
the otherhand, all of my meads have worked out. :-)

<<< Pennsic is probaby the worst time of the year for doing this.   
The period apples wouldn't have ripened yet.  And you're not likely  
to find any that have been stored that long.  Many of them don't  
store well to start with.  Plus, many apple varieties change their  
flavor and texture distinctly when stored.  Sometimes this is bad,  
sometimes it's an improvement.  >>>

Oh. I didn't think of that. And I'm not sure if I will be at the next  
Pennsic or not.

<<< Gulf War might be timed a BIT better.  >>>

That would be good for me. We've made all Gulf Wars except the second  
one and we are planning on going in a few months. Hopefully if I get  
a job I can negotiate that week off. Gulf Wars does tend to be more  
martially oriented than A&S though.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas           
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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