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Main Content
apples

How to Make Apple Cider

Benjamin Kilbride, Editorial Assistant at The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Pick apples fresh from the orchard to press for a delicious autumn treat.  

What Is the Difference Between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?

While both beverages are made from apples, the end product is different. Apple juice is made from filtering the pressed apple liquid multiple times. Apple cider is made from unfiltered and raw apple juice.

Apple Cider Recipe

This recipe will make about 1 gallon of pure apple cider. 

You Will Need…

1/3-bushel of apples

package of cheesecloth

4 Ball canning jars (1 qt. each) with sealable metal lids

Remove any spoiled apples or cut off brown, decayed, or moldy areas. Apples should be firm and ripe. Wash apples under clean running water. Core and cut the apples into small chunks and blend in a blender or food processor in batches. Pour small amounts of the crushed apple pulp and juice into single layers of cheesecloth over a clean bowl. Take the ball of apple pulp in your hands and squeeze out the juice.

Once all of the pulp has been squeezed and all of the juice has been filtered from the blender into the bowl, wash the Ball canning jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly. Heat them in a pot of simmering (not boiling) hot water until ready to use.

Now comes a choice—pasteurize and bottle the cider and store in the fridge, or ferment it for 4 to 5 days for a tarter and more developed taste. If fermenting, follow the directions below. If pasteurizing, pour the liquid into a cooking pot and heat from 160° to 185°F. Avoid boiling for a better taste. Pour the cider into the heated jars and screw on the lids. Refrigerate immediately.

How to Store Apple Cider

Both non-fermented and fermented cider can be stored in bottles or jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

How to Ferment Cider

Complete the steps above to make strained apple juice. Next, pour the juice into a sanitized jar or jug, leaving 25 percent of the container empty for foaming that occurs during fermentation. 

Cover the jar with a triple-layer of clean and unused cheesecloth, and store in a cool, dark, and dry place that has little airflow. Wait 2 to 3 days and then begin taste testing cider daily, until the desired taste is acquired. Remove the cheesecloth and enjoy immediately or screw on caps and store in the refrigerator to be saved for later and drunk cold.  

Turn Apple Cider Into Vinegar

To turn the apple cider into vinegar, complete the steps above to make strained apple juice. Next, pour the juice into a sanitized jar or jug, leaving 25 percent of the container empty for foaming that occurs during fermentation.

Cover the jars with a triple-layer of clean and unused cheesecloth each, and store in a cool, dark, and dry place that has little airflow. Leave the cider to naturally ferment for 4 to 6 months. When the liquid smells like vinegar and has changed from opaque to clear, the vinegar has finished fermenting. Remove the cheesecloth and screw on caps. Store in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator for 6 months to 1 year.

Old Farmer's Almanac