Home Food Preservation – Pickles and Pickling Class

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Great Fermentations is hosting a Home Food Preservation workshop focusing pickles and pickling this Saturday from 9am-12pm. We are stoked!

In each workshop you will learn the basic principles of food preservation and the process focusing on making pickles.  You will get hands on practice producing product in each workshop, and you get to take home your finished product!

$25 gets you admission to the class, product, jars, and food safe preservation resources! Come join us at GF’s Northside location and maybe you can confront your fear of pickles ūüėČ

Pear Cider in 5 Easy Steps!

Pear Cider - 01

Making pear cider is not as hard as it may sound. If you are comfortable brewing beer, you should have no problem making a good cider. As will all things fermented, remember that sanitation is key. I’ve compiled an easy step by step set of instructions for making cider¬†from organic pear fruit juice. Here is a list of what you will need for a 5 gallon batch:

1 – 6.5 gallon carboy/food grade bucket w/ airlock or blowoff hose
1 – Small sanitized funnel
5 – Gallons of organic pear juice. (I’ve used R. W. Knudsen’s Organic Pear Juice)
1 – Package of yeast (I’ve used Wyeast Labs 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast)
1/2 – tsp of Yeast Nutrient
2 1/2 – tsp of Pectic Enzyme (Settles out free floating pectin in pasteurized juice, and will help you clarify improve your cider yield)
1/4 – tsp Potassium Metabisulphite (to kill of any wild yeast if using unpasteurized/ juice)
Brown sugar
1/2 tsp of Potassium Sorbate

Step 1: Make sure that your carboy/bucket is sanitized. I usually do a wash and scrub with unscented Oxyclean or PBW, a double water rinse, and then sanitize it with a no rinse acid based sanitizer like Star San. This step is very important because we will not be boiling the juice like we would wort in brewing beer. I activate my yeast packet in the morning and let it sit while I clean my equipment. Take your time! Give your yeast at least a few hours to reproduce before pitching it into your juice.

Pear Cider - 02

Step 2:¬†Once your yeast is ready to go, portion out your ingredients and get them ready to go. Make sure that your measuring spoons are clean and sanitized as well. Start pouring your juice into the fermenter. I usually pour off half of the juice, and then add the yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, potassium metabisulphite, and any additional sugar to the remaining juice in it’s container so I can shake them together. This allows the ingredients to dissolve into the juice before adding it to the fermenter. If you are using pasteurized juice (which most of you will likely be using for this recipe), it will be cloudy. The pectic enzyme will help break down the free floating pectin in your juice, which will remove the haze from your finished product. Another thing to note is that the Original Specific Gravity of your juice should be at around 1.050. If it is not, you can add 2.25 oz of brown sugar or 3 oz honey per gallon to raise the OSG by increments of .005. A solid 1.060 OSG will yield between 7 to 9% abv with cider/mead yeast.

Pear Cider - 03

Step 3: Once all of your juice has been added to the fermenter, immediately pitch your yeast and aerate your batch. Providing the yeast with plenty of oxygen will help promote healthy yeast cell walls, which in turn will allow your yeast to propagate through your juice quickly. This will reduce fermentation lag time, and decrease your chance of bacterial infection. As you can see from the picture, I inject oxygen using an oxygen regulator and difuser stone.

Step 4: Allow your cider to ferment for 7-10 days. Once fermentation has ceased you can cold crash your batch or move it to a secondary for clarification. I would suggest letting your cider at sit least a week to allow yeast and unfermentables to settle out. Store bought juice is pasteurized, which naturally creates a large amount of pectin in the juice. The pectic enzyme added in Step 2 is critical if you want clear, non-cloudy cider.

Step 5:¬†Dissolve 1/4 tsp of Potassium Metabisulphite and a 1/2 tsp of¬†Potassium Sorbate¬†into your batch. This “shuts off” your yeast activity and allows you to back sweeten your cider (which will be dry and tart) with more juice, brown sugar, or honey to taste. From here you should keg.

We at BIMP have made some outstanding cider using this method. It works great with any organic juice you can buy at the store. Please post any comments or recipe suggestions below. Enjoy!

Making Hard Cider With Apple Juice

This is a step away from my usual posts, but I thought it would be a cool thing to try. EdWort¬†of homebrewtalk.com posted a thread on making Apfelwein (German Hard Cider) from 100% preservative free apple juice, corn sugar, and wine yeast. The recipe is super simple, apparently tastes fantastic, and can be made in as little as 6 weeks. What’s the downside? Haha, from what I understand Apfelwein gives you a ridiculous hangover. In fact, there is even a disclaimer at the bottom of Edwort’s recipe. Either way, I’m super interested in creating some Apfelwein of my own.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La38oQjdyPw]

Here’s a video tutorial¬†Craig Farraway of Craigtube¬†has created that walks you through the process. If you’ve done this before, please share your results with us here or on our¬†Facebook page.¬†Prost!

Bowser Beer For Dogs!

Finally a brew for man’s best friend! Bowser Beer is a safe brew for dogs that contains no hops or alcohol, but is brewed with chicken or beef broth, and barley. The idea came to Seattle based owner and creator Jenny Brown, after she started making pretzel treats for dogs coated in peanut butter and molasses for the state fair. The beers are flat (because apparently the dog focus group preferred no bubbles) and include vitamins like¬†glucosamine for healthy joints. For those dog owners interested in trying the beer themselves, you can choose from Beefy Brown ale and Cock-a-Doodle-Brew, which are described by Brown as “like drinking sweetish broth.” There is also an option to print your own personalized beer label with your purchase. You had me at Cock-a-Doodle-Brew. Hmmm… I wonder if she used Papazian’s legendary Cock Ale from “The Joy of Homebrewing“? Here’s the recipe:

COCK ALE (circa the 1500’s) A real recipe from some obscure text found in the Scottish Highlands… Enjoy….

Procedure:
“Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flaw him). Then, put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it five pounds of raisins of the sun – stoned; some blades of mace, and a few cloves. Put all these into a canvas bag, and a little before you find the ale has been working, put the bag and ale together in vessel.
In a week or nine days bottle it up, fill the bottle just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale.”

Read more about this story in Minnesota’s Twin Cities Pioneer Press article.

International Arms Race Zero IBU IPA

This is a strange one for sure. Brew Dog is collaborating with Flying Dog to create an IPA with absolutely no hops. This style of beer is known as Gruit. Wikipedia explains that “Gruit ales were commonly brewed with herbs and spices like¬†sweet gale (Myrica gale), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris),¬†yarrow¬†(Achillea millefolium), ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), horehound (Marrubium vulgare), and¬†heather¬†(Calluna vulgaris).” These herbs and spices are actually mild to moderate narcotics! Gruit was also brewed with spices like cinnamon, ginger, and caraway seeds. The International Arms Race Zero IBU IPA will be available this June in Mid-Atlantic U.S. and UK. Check out the original article from Draft Magazine here.