Originally Posted by HAREEBROWNBEEST
Thanks. I live in strawberry country, we get the best around here (Ventura county) so I will add them to my secondary. Do they stay on top, do I slice them up, use them whole? Are they a pain to siphon through? I've never done a fruit addition yet. How long should they stay in the second? Thanks, your like a cider Jedi.
The best way to use them is to first freeze them, and then thaw them (and possibly even repeating). The ice crystals that form will puncture the cell walls and make the juices much more accessible to the yeast. You can throw them in just like that, or mush them up/puree them... in any case, I'd remove the leaves.
Keep the tip of the autosiphon out of the gunk on the bottom and you should be fine. I'd personally keep the cider on the strawberries for at least 3 months, but 4-6 months is better. I'll have to check my notes, but a pound of strawberries per gallon is a good number, if I recall correctly (it MIGHT be more).
If you use fruit in the cider, I'd really recommend using sulfite (in the form of campden tablets, most likely) in order to keep any wild yeast or bacteria present on the fruit in check. With beer, hops usually provide the extra antimicrobial activity needed, but with anything else, it's best to play it safe, IMO.