You can freeze the peels and if you can’t get Arkansas Black try other red apples that have tannins. The best way to assess tannins is to peel a small piece and chew it. If the apple has a good level of tannins, the peel will let you know. Check out the tips section for more tips on assessing tannins in apples. If you want more details on making Pippin Magic hard cider, check out the post Making Pippin Magic.
As always you can adapt this hard cider recipe to your preferred method. If you find it too dry, you can back sweeten with a touch of organic stevia or erythritol, which are both sweeteners that won’t ferment. While I don’t use it often, I had experimented with stevia because it’s organic. Remember, it is at least twice the sweetness of sugar. I just started trialing organic erythritol, and while its not as sweet as sugar, it doesn’t seem to have the aftertaste many note with stevia. I suggest embracing dry, but lean towards erythritol if you need sweetness. As is my normal, I don’t use sulfites or sorbates in my ciders. If you want to add, you can always add sulfites 24 hours before inoculating with yeast and before packaging if you are back sweetening with fermentable sugars. I just try to avoid additional preservatives.
I also filter my hard ciders but you can simply age them longer, cold crash them, and/use fining to help you clarify your hard ciders.. The same is true for carbonation. If you want to bottle condition this cider to 2.75 volumes, you can add 29 grams of priming sugar per gallon. This should give you the 2.75 volumes assuming you didn’t degas the hard cider. If you are are not using kegs, always remember to limit your oxygen exposure, especially In your headspace when aging.
This cider should have an ABV in the 7.0-7.5% range. The carbonation will be at the bottom end of sparkling so take care with your bottles. The Arkansas Black peels provide more than just tannins, they also add color. This hard cider pairs exceptionally well with comfort food like grilled cheese. It would also be great with hamburgers, sausage, and even a nice steak. These foods will match well with the tart and acidic nature of the Newtown Pippin, and the astringent and phenolic characteristics imparted by the Arkansas Black peels. The carbonation of this cider will also help to cleanse your palate of the fats and bold flavors found in most comfort food.
Did you enjoy this article? Follow me so you can get more hard cider recipes and tips as well as ideas for experiencing hard cider. Also, if you want to learn more about making hard cider, get my book. It covers all things hard cider as well as food and cider pairings like above.