Homemade Apple Cider Resources

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Over the years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has accumulated a wealth of apple knowledge. In this collection of apple cider resources, you’ll learn everything you need to turn fresh, juicy apples into delicious, sweet cider.

In this collection of cider features, we take you through the entire cider-making adventure — starting with planning and planting your own apple orchard. After you’ve successfully harvested fall’s sweetest crop, learn how to build and use a cider press or mill. Then, follow our recipes to make your own delicious, homemade cider. Learn how to use apple cider in recipes to add a refreshingly sweet twist to old standbys. This collection of articles will help you savor the taste of fall year-round.

Starting an Apple Orchard

Growing Fruit Trees on Your Homestead
A detailed discussion of choosing, growing and pruning fruit trees in your home orchard.

Managing an Apple Orchard
Take a close-up look at the process of managing an apple orchard and tips on apples that make quality homemade cider.

Growing Apple Trees Ecologically: A Guide to Low-Spray Orchards
By choosing apple varieties and rootstocks adapted to your area’s climate and pests, keeping trees healthy through good site selection, and using biological controls, you can grow high-quality, low-spray apples.

A Celebration of Heirloom Apples and Artisan Ciders
In the late 1700s, hard cider was North America’s most popular beverage. During 1767, the average citizen of Massachusetts drank more than 35 gallons of cider. Now an estimated four of five apple varieties unique to the continent have been lost from commerce. And these days most Americans have never even tried a fine, fermented, dry cider.

Fall’s Sweetest Harvest
Before you can enjoy fall’s sweetest harvest it’s important to understand which type of apple trees produce the sweetest varieties and which press will provide the easiest road to apple cider heaven.

Best Cider Apple Varieties
Prune your planting list to these expert picks for the best cider apple varieties, and you’ll be making apple cider to sigh for.

Using Dwarf Fruit Trees in Your Home Orchard
Dwarf fruit trees produce normal-sized fruit in a fraction of the time. Plus, a short guide to growing nut trees.

How to Grow Apples

How to Grow Apples
From planting to pruning to controlling pests to harvesting, you can learn how to grow apples in most areas of North America.

12 Steps to Successfully Planting Fruit Trees
If you’re thinking of planting fruit trees, have a look here so you’ll know how to do it right.

All About Growing Fruit Trees
Growing fruit trees organically is possible with the proper amount of care and attention. To bite into a fresh peach, or spread homemade apple butter on warm bread, is the epitome of a sweet, sweet reward.

Planting Apple Trees
When you begin planting apple trees, follow these rules to improve your chances of success.

Rx for Old Apple Trees
Five steps to bring back fruit on a neglected apple tree, including restoration, pruning, scraping, waiting, protecting.

How to Espalier Apple Trees
How to choose the right variety of apple, then train it into an espalier. The six basic styles of espalier are shown.

How to Prune an Apple Tree
With shears, a pruning saw and common sense, you don’t have to be a tree surgeon to improve the appearance, yield and health of your apple trees.

Homemade Apple Cider: Hard and Soft

How to Make Apple Cider
You don’t even need to buy apples if you have an abandoned apple tree nearby. Just gather the fruit, and press it into delicious cider for pennies per gallon.

Make Your Own Hard Cider
Make delicious, intoxicating hard cider at home with this simple process.

Fruit Juice From Fall’s Harvest
When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.

Making Apple Cider
Don’t settle for the thin, pasteurized, store-bought stuff. Making apple cider is cheaper and infinitely more refreshing

Mulled Apple Cider Recipe
This mulled apple cider recipe is a great way to stay warm on a cold winter day.

Home Brewing: How to Make Beer, Wine, Cider, Soda and Other Tasty Beverages
Our home brewing resources page containing links to 30 MOTHER EARTH NEWS articles.

An Apple Education: Cider Resources
Check out these resources including recommended books and websites to learn more about heirloom apples, as well as the how-to and history of cider making.

Cider Presses and Mills

How to Build a Cider Press
Follow these step-by-step instructions to make this easy-to-build cider press, and start enjoying homemade apple cider and apple jack.

Build Your Own Cider Mill
Do you have access to a lot of apples? Build this cider mill and you can turn them into a lot of apple cider!

Converting a Washing Machine Into a Homemade Cider Press
This article includes step-by-step building instructions, photographs and cutaway diagram for how to convert a washing machine into a homemade juice extractor.

Falling for Apples
One of the sweetest things about homemade cider is the pressing of it.

Your Mission: Find a Crackerjack Cider Producer Near You
We have accumulated a list of cideries for your convenience, as well as a map of cider makers where you can add your own favorite producers.

Videos From the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Team’s Cider Pressing Adventure
The MOTHER EARTH NEWS team, along with other Ogden Publications employees, had the exciting opportunity to give cider pressing a try. Herrick Kimball from Whizbang Cider graciously donated the press, and our team had a great time making and drinking delicious apple (with a few pears thrown in) cider.

Apple Cider Recipes

Apple Soup Stock Recipe
This recipe for apple stock adds a depth of fall flavor to dishes normally cooked with chicken stock or vegetable stock, such as butternut squash soup.

How to Make Apple Butter
The Douthit family show you how to make apple butter, an old-timey food tradition and a fun seasonal project.

Apple Butter Cocktail Recipe
You don’t need toast to enjoy this apple butter cocktail made with farm-fresh hard cider.

How to Make Homemade Vinegar
Homemade vinegar is as easy to make as mushing up fruit, straining the pulp from the juice, then bottling it for months until your natural vinegar is ready to use.

Smoked Apple Butter Recipe
Try smoking apples with hickory or cherry wood, and your fall apple butter will preserve an abundant harvest and the scent of autumn days.

What to Do With Windfall Apples
Learn what to do with windfall apples that have fallen off the tree early. Ideas include healthful “pink juice” and skin-on chips.

Photos by Fotolia