Michael On Everything Else

Snakeskin Cider

Maintaining ferments is all about the rhythm. The goal being to have a never-ending supply of living food, a.k.a. probiotics.

I have been enjoying The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz and have been putting several of his techniques to use.

Today I rotated my kimchi and sauerkraut into smaller jars, started a new sauerkraut, a new yogurt (from a commercial starter this time) and a new cider fermented with apples.

My last cider was fermented with snakefruit, also known as salak. It is an Indonesian fruit we were introduced to in Bali. I call the cider Snakeskin Cider, but it has a ways to go before I would share it with anyone. The first batch was not the greatest.

All fruits and vegetables have wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) teeming on the surface (they are friendly microorganisms). There are also yeasts in the air around us. We can cultivate the wild yeast from the air and the surface of the fruit to make alcohol — yeast and LAB produce alcohol as they consume sugars. For lightly alcoholic cider, it is easy to do in just a few days with two easy steps:

After a day or so, with vigorous stirring the yeast will become active and you will see bubbles forming. Keep stirring. You want it almost foaming at the top.

After a few more days and once you can see dead yeast settling at the bottom of your cider, you know you have a decent level of alcohol. The alcohol kills the yeast, which becomes lees at the bottom of your cider, seen below in the last picture.

Once you have a good pile-up of lees, you can strain and drink your cider. At this point it is certainly worth enjoying but it becomes even better if airlocked and aged, something I plan on trying with this batch.