Adding Pectic Enzyme

December 22, 2009

I have mentioned before the addition of pectic enzyme. It is a chemical which breaks down pectin, a gelling agent found naturally in apples. In fact, to make jams or jellies, pectin is added to make the fruit gel. However, for cider and wine, pectin creates a haze.

Remember my second batch, the one made out of Whole Foods Apple Juice in a glass jug? More specifically, I’m talking about the one I just dumped yeast in and let it turn to cider. Well, I didn’t add pectic enzyme to it, and the results show just looking at it. It is a very cloudy drink. In a normal fermentation, when the sugar is gone, the yeast dies and falls to the bottom and becomes what is called lees. If I had added pectic enzyme, the solids causing the juice to be cloudy would have fallen to the bottom at the same time, and I would have been left with clear cider.

Why couldn’t I add the pectic enzyme later? Well, it turns out that the enzyme really doesn’t work well in the presence of alcohol, so it wouldn’t do me any good.

At this point, my choices are to filter it, or drink it as it is. I’m not really looking to buy a filter at the moment, and I don’t want to increase the amount of air my cider will have contact with. Since it will probably just be my husband and I drinking it, I’ll risk the cloudiness. FYI, unfiltered cider is called scrumpy cider, though I’m not completely sure that is what I have on my hands here.


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