What are the differences between using fresh fruit, juice and frozen fruit in fermentation?
Making good cider/mead cannot be achieved without choosing the right ingredients. Even the different forms of the fruit can make differences in cider-making. Let's see how these ingredients play roles in brewing!
How to get a clear main tone | Use juice
Like we mentioned in lesson 1, brewing is like composing music, get the clear main tone and company with the flavoring to make the taste completed. In order to get a clear main tone, using juice is recommended. When using fresh fruit, the water is required. But adding water will dilute the taste of your fruit. Unless the fruit has a very strong flavor, like pineapples.
Natural juice is the top choice, either buy juice from the supermarket or making juice your own. Remember to remove the pulp if you are making fresh juice at home. Avoid using juice made with chemical ingredients. It will create unpleasant flavor when making it into cider. There's also a risk that yeast can't survive in chemical juice.
How to get a hint of fruit flavor | Go for fresh fruit
Fresh fruit is a good choice for adding extra kicks to the drink. For instance, if we are making pear apple cider, the main body is apple flavor and would like to have a sweet-sour hint of pear. First, choose apple juice as the main ingredient and add some pear chunk to give the extra kick. The amount of fruit will depend on how strong you would like the flavor to be.
When using fresh fruit, please choose the fruit is ripe so the flavor is strong enough. Do not use rotten fruit or fruit with bad quality.
Don't like using juice but still want to get a clear tone | Frozen fruit is your choice
If you don't feel like making juice, neither do you want to buy juice from the supermarket. Frozen fruit is your choice! When the water freezes into ice, the ice crystals will break the cell wall of the fruit and help to release the flavor in cider/mead body. Buy the fresh fruit and cut into small cubes then put them into the freezer for a couple of days.
This idea is similar to icewine. Icewine is a type of dessert wine which is originally from Germany, the main producers are in Canada, Germany, and Austria...etc. It is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, that's why it is called icewine. The sugar and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing for a more concentrated grape juice to develop, which further result in the more outstanding main tone of flavor.
How much fruit should I add? | Juice 82 oz; fruit 21 oz
Based on the ALCHEMA pitcher's volume, 82 oz of juice or 21 oz of fruit at least is recommended in order to get a good result of drinks.
When adding fruit, please cut the fruit into 2 in X 2 in cubes. This step is to help the fruit to release its flavor into cider. If we choose to use juice, remember to use natural juice. The juice made with chemical ingredients may lead to fermentation incomplete, even fermentation failure. Remove the pulp in the juice before start fermenting. The pulp may clog the valve on the top lid of the pitcher.
* The yield of the cider will be less due to the residue of the fruit.
Can I use mixed fruit for brewing? | Of course! Just follow the mixing principle and the recommended amount of usage
Mixing fruits give more possibilities for cider-making. Here are some mixing principles to help you master it! For the amount of usage, no matter how many kinds of fruits you use, the total amount shouldn't exceed 35 oz. If you are mixing any juice with fresh fruit, add the fruit chunk into the pitcher first then fill the pitcher to the max line with juice. The designated recipes for this lesson is Cyser (aks apple mead). Instead of only using apple juice, we add the extra fresh apple for fermentation. The fresh apple will bring extra tartness and freshness on top of simple hard cider which is a designated recipe for lesson 2. By comparing what you brew from lesson 2 and 3, you could get a better understanding of how mixing works in what you brew.
How to choose fruits that go well with each other? Well, if you can distinguish the colors, you can do it well! The basic rule is that "the similar the color", "the closer the origin", and "the closer the growing season", the better they go together. For example, both strawberries and raspberries are red, they can pair well; both passionfruit and pineapple are both tropical fruit, so they can pair well. Both cane and starfruit are ripe in a similar season, so they can pair well. Just remember these three principles, you can make good drinks!
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