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Saturday, 11 October 2008

Indian Summer and Cider Making

Well the much cooler weather and damper weather that had started on the 14th September has given way to a second Indian summer period, which started on Wednesday (8th). Daytime temperatures are back up in the mid-twenties and even at nigh it doesn’t drop much below 20 degrees. The clear blue skies and continuous sunshine really show off the leaves on the trees which are starting to take on golden hues. It’s just as well we are getting some nice weather again, otherwise we would have had an unusually short summer period this year, lasting for only 3 months. Now we seem to get a bonus week or two.

We did plough over a terrace last Saturday and planted it with broad beans for spring harvesting. I never seem to have enough each spring to conserve some for later use, so I dedicated practically a whole terrace to them this time. I suppose they are ready when nothing else much is growing (April/May) so they get eaten straight away. On Thursday we dug over a bed and sowed peas. I need to find another couple of locations for a greater supply for roundabout the same time as the broad beans. I also started my autumn cleaning work by strimming half the terraces. I shall finish the job today or Monday.

Yesterday we started our first cider experiment. Our friend Irene from Switzerland came out to help us. First we picked the apples, some 50 kg of various varieties. Not all the trees were as prolific as last year, but we had some really tasty, sharp apples. The majority were a variety, that according to Irene is called Boskop in German, a large, sharp, hard- and rough-skinned variety, yellowish-green in colour. Very juicy and tasty.

Then we put the lot through the crusher, which evidently is designed for grapes, but eventually crushed the apples too. Then of course we pressed out the juice. A beautifully dark golden, cloudy, sweet juice emerged. On testing the potential alcohol the must showed a whapping 11%! So it should be drunk with care and not by the pint like British cider. We made about 15 litres only, but hey it’s better than letting the apples rot on the tree or be eaten by the local wild boar population. Although I’m told the pigs taste better if they are killed just at the moment they try to eat an apple. This is the way they are often served here, still with the apple in their mouth.

Anyway, weather is far too good to sit here on my computer. Out I go!

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