The plan looked nice and simple. A little too simple.
I started to do some extra reading and discussed it a bit with some people who know lots of things about this kind of stuff. I started to notice that pectinase was getting mentioned. A lot.
For those playing at home: Pectinase is an enzyme that breaks down pectin. Pectin is a polysaccharide (big sugar) that is undigested naturally by yeast. There is also a lot of pectin in sour plums. I was using sour plums.
It was becoming pretty obvious that I was going to need some to achieve my goal of crystal clear plum cider.
Then came the roadblocks when looking around for some ready before the pressing day.
It was only a couple of days before Christmas and online suppliers were not going to be able to get any to me in time.
My local home brew store was able to order me some and it would arrive in time, but it would have to be in bulk and not the tiny portion I actually needed. I wasn’t keen buying a scale of magnitude more than what I needed, so I had to pass on that.
I contacted anyone I knew working in a winery or a brewery that has done cider and they were either all out or not around on the holidays so I was left with no choice but to go without.
It couldn’t be that important. Right? So my cider would just be a bit cloudier than I originally wanted. That’s not a deal breaker.
So I gathered up everything that wasn’t pectinase and got to work.
The plums were pitted and fed into the sausage mincer.
The minced plum was wrapped up and put in the cider press.
The cider press was wound down and the plum mince was compressed.
No juice came out. This wasn’t like juicing apples at all.
It turns out that the juice was bound pretty well in the minced plum flesh.
This was an eleventh hour problem. I was out of help options. I had one choice.
All of the pulp in the mincer was scraped out into a fermenter and all further minced plums went in with it. Along with a helpful dosing of potassium metabisulphite. What could go wrong?