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How To Brew Your Own Cider

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Over in the USA, apple cider is a soft drink that is essentially just concentrated apple juice. But we all know that traditional British cider is where it’s at… Here in the UK, apple cider is fermented, which makes it alcoholic and it is revered as being a quintessential taste of summer, a staple of the West Country and is available in a massive array of fruity regional flavours. So how can you brew your own cider at home? We’ve found an easy to follow recipe from Countryfile that can help you learn the basics.

What home brewing equipment will you need? 

You’ll need: a juicer, straining bag, 5 gallon bucket open top bucket, 2 gallon bucket (you will need to drill 30 holes into the bottom), hydrometer, funnel, demijohns, measuring jug and cider bottles.

We’ve got a fantastic 30L Plastic Fermentation Bucket that would be great for making cider with, as it has a handy measurement guide printed on the side. We also have a wide range of glass beer and cider bottles with crown caps that are perfect for filling with your finished beverage.

What ingredients will you need?

Ingredients: 8kg apples, 5g champagne yeast, Campden tablets and sugar (only needed if you want to make sparkling cider). This quantity of ingredients will make 5 gallons (approximately 22 litres) of cider.

How To Brew Your Own Cider

Step 1: Pick Your Apples

If you’ve got an apple tree in your garden then great, but if not, supermarket apples are just as good. The type of apple you pick will determine the taste of your cider, so choose wisely. Bramley apples will produce a sharp, tangy cider, whilst Gala apples will create a sweeter flavour. You could even use both tangy and sweet apples together to make the perfect brew!

Step 2: Clean Your Home Brewing Equipment

Fermenting cider is a scientific process and it’s important to make sure that the equipment you’re using is free of any dirt or germs that might interfere with the process. Make sure that you soak all of your equipment in hot water for a couple of hours before use and add 4 Campden tablets per gallon of water used to sterilise them.

Step 3: Juice The Apples

Now that everything is clean and ready to go, you can extract the juice from your apples. Set up your juicer so that it dispenses the juice into your straining bag, which should be placed in your smaller straining bucket (with the 30 tiny holes drilled into the bottom). The straining bucket needs to above your larger fermenting bucket, which is where your perfectly filtered juice will end up. The straining bag and stating bucket will filter out all the tiny bits of pulp and skin that gets through the juicer’s filters, leaving you with a crystal clear apple juice. Measure the gravity of your pure apple juice using your hydrometer and record the measurement (you’ll need it later). Check out this handy guide to using a hydrometer, if you haven’t used one before.

Step 4: Add Yeast

Take a 1 pint measuring jug, fill to the top with some of your apple juice and then add 5g of champagne yeast. Leave for half an hour then stir thoroughly to disperse the yeast throughout the mixture. Divide your yeast mixture between your demijohns, then fill them to the top with the rest of your apple juice.

Step 5: Leave It To Ferment

Place your sealed demijohns in a warm place (between 15°C and 20°C) and leave them for 3-4 weeks until you have a clear cider.

Step 6: Measure The Alcohol Content

Use your hydrometer to measure the gravity of your cider. You need your cider to have a reading of 1 or less. If the reading is higher than 1, then leave the mix to ferment for a bit longer. Once you have your final measurement, then you can work out your cider’s alcohol content percentage using an ABV chart. You are aiming for an ABV of 4-5%.

Step 7: Dispense Into Bottle & Add Fizz (Optional)

You can now dispense your cider into your cider bottles. If you want a fizzy cider, then you need to add half a teaspoon of white sugar to each bottle before pouring in your cider. If you then leave your bottles for a few more weeks, your cider will be fizzy!

Step 8: Kick Back & Enjoy!

Cider is best served chilled and enjoyed on a sunny, warm(ish) British summer’s day. If you start making your home brew cider now, then you can have it ready for this summer!

Like our guide on how to brew your own cider? Then we think that you’d also like our guide on how to sterilise glass bottles properly!

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How To Sterilise Glass Bottles

how to sterilise glass bottles

Knowing how to sterilise glass bottles is important for anyone in the business of selling food and drink. As well as getting the glass clean of any dirt or residue that could be leftover from warehousing or transportation, the sterilisation process also kills off any nasty bacteria that would not usually be removed by just giving the glass a quick rinse in water.

Why Is Sterilising So Important?

You must sterilise your glass before use in consumer products for the following reasons:

  • Customer safety. If your glass is not sterilised properly, there could be some nasty germs lingering inside that could make your customers ill when they eat your product.
  • Product integrity. Some types of food or drink could react negatively with any bacteria that has been left on your glass packaging, therefore causing the taste or texture of your products to change.
  • Increases shelf life. By removing the germs and bacteria from your glass bottles and jars, you are increasing the amount of time that your product can be stored and safe to eat.

So how can you sterilise glass at home?

How To Sterilise Glass Bottles: Step By Step

This short guide is perfect for home bakers or small food producers to follow, however if you are a large producer, then it is more efficient for you to use large machines that are specifically designed to sterilise on a mass scale.

Step 1

First of all, you need to take your glass bottles and wash them throughly with hot, soapy water. DO NOT dry them with a tea towel.

Step 2

Next, you need to heat your oven to 140 degrees celsius or higher, place a sheet of baking paper on a middle shelf, then lay your glass bottles and *lids on it. Make sure that they are not touching each other, then leave to bake for 20 minutes until they are dry.

*Do not bake any lids that have rubber seals in the oven, as they will melt or lose shape. Instead, you will need to boil them in hot water and leave to dry in a rack.

Step 3

Take your glass out from the oven and leave to cool. Do not attempt to fill your bottles when they are still hot, as adding cold liquids to hot glass can cause the glass to crack. Once your bottles are cool, you are then free to fill with them with whatever wonderful drinks you so desire!

It’s that easy.

Great Value Glass Bottles For Juice, Smoothies, Water, Beer & Wine!

Whether you’re a small manufacturer or a a giant global conglomerate, our tiered pricing structure means that you always get the best price for the amount of units that you order. Wine, beer, juice, milk… we’ve got all your drinks packaging needs covered. Check out a few of our favourites!

glass bottles for drinks

For Wine: 187ml Green Glass Bordeaux Bottle & Silver Screw Cap

  • 43p each or less when you buy in bulk!

For Beer: 500ml Clear Glass Beer Bottle & Gold Crown Cap

  • 34p each or less when you buy in bulk!

For Smoothies250ml ‘Costalata’ Swing Top Glass Bottle

  • £2.43 or less when you buy in bulk!

For Juice: 250ml Glass Farmers Juice Bottle & Gold Twist Cap

  • 33p each or less when you buy in bulk!
Liked our guide on how to sterilise glass bottles? Then we think that you’d also like our discussion as to why glass packaging is making a comeback in Europe.
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Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

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Looking to save a bit of money this Christmas? A lot of our purse strings are tightening around this time of year and, with parties, food and drink to cater for, it’s not surprising that a lot of us want to cut back our spending on presents. But how can you cut down your costs and still keep the quality of your presents high? By getting creative and making them at home of course! Now we may be biased on this subject, but we think that you can make so many awesome presents using jars and bottles – why not try out a few of our homemade Christmas gift ideas?

Home-Brews

Recently tried your hand at home brewing? Fancy yourself as the next big name in beer? This Christmas, why not show off your skills and tasty homemade beverages to your friends and family by gifting them with your home brew in stylish, rustic bottles? Simply siphon your beer (or cider or wine!) into a glass bottle, add a personalised label and perhaps even a ribbon as well.

If you want to really make a statement, our Mini Party Keg is the ideal item of drinks packaging for you! It can hold 5 litres of your home brew and comes complete with a fully integrated, tamper evident as as well as a handle for easy transportation. It’s the perfect gift for party lovers around party season!

If you’re after something a little smaller, we have a wide range of glass beer, cider and wine bottles that you can present your drinks in. Some of our most popular are the 27ml Ice Beer Bottle, the 500ml Short Amber Bottle and the sophisticated 750ml Olive Green Wine Bottle.

Body Scrubs

Gift sets of body lotions, creams and moisturisers are big business for retailers over the Christmas period, but you can quite easily make your own body scrubs at home! This is actually a better option for the environment, as well as your bank account, because many shop-bought scrubs can contain micro beads (although their use is dramatically declining) which are not biodegradable and are polluting our oceans. By using natural exfoliants such as sugar, you are helping the earth as well as creating delicious smelling body scrubs!

Check out this list compiled by Living The Nourished Life of the best homemade body scrubs you can try out this Christmas. Our range of Glass Ointment Jars are a great option for packaging your homemade scrubs, simply add a ribbon and personalised label to create lovely looking gifts for beauty lovers!

Cookie & Sweet Jars

For an easy gift to give out to children, why not get baking and hand out cookies, cakes and sweets to your young relatives? Their parents may not thank you for the sugar rush though… You could even just go out and buy some of their favourite branded sweets or chocolate, fill a jar with them, then decorate the jars in a style that each child would enjoy. Whether that be superheroes, fairy princesses or sports, this is a chance to really get creative and put a smile on a child’s face!

Our plastic sweet jars are ideal for decorating and filling with sweet treats with each coming with a screw on lid to keep the contents fresh within, aside from the Kilner Jar which has a hinged lid already attached. Best of all, the jars can never shatter when dropped by little hands as they are made from durable, safe plastic!

Love Notes

Are you an old romantic at heart? Then why not create a heartfelt gift for your spouse or partner that shows them how much you care? A super easy, lovely gift idea is to get some post-it notes and fill a jar with the many reasons why you love that person. If you’re feeling bold, you could write 365 reasons so that they have a new one to open and read for every day of the next year!

To display this thoughtful gift, we suggest our Le Parfait Jars, which are traditional, rustic and French-inspired – what could be more romantic? These jars come in sizes ranging from 500ml up to 3 litres, so you can get as gushy as you want if you can think of enough reasons!

Photo Snow Globes

Another more personal, festive-themed gift is a photo snow globe, which you can make using a clear glass jar, a printed photo and some ‘snow’! Whilst they look quite complicated to make, they’re actually relatively easy. You can find a great tutorial on how to make your own snow globes at Martha Stewart and all you have to do is incorporate your photo into the background of the globe. They would make a great stocking filler for a friend or loved one to place on their mantelpiece for all to see over the festive period.

Our Orcio Jars are a good bet for DIY snow globes, with their curved shape emulating their shop bought equivalents. They come in 3 sizes: 212ml, 314ml and 370ml, with all of the jars coming with a choice of screw on lids. These lids come in many different colours and patterns, such as black, gold, red gingham and floral! We recommend gold lids if you want to achieve a particularly festive look.

Remember we have no minimum order, so you can buy as many or as little of our jars and bottles as you need!

Liked our Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas? Then you’ll love our guide to The Many Wonderful Uses Of Glass Jars!