I was heavily into brewing back in the mid-90s (beer, mead, cider, and about anything I could find that I thought would ferment ... which lead to some epically bad drinks). Recently I dusted off the brewing equipment and have started up again.
Yesterday I drove past a local orchard and decided to stop in and get a gallon of cider to ferment. The lady said it was unpasteurized. It's currently frozen, though, so no rush on an answer.
I've never dealt with unpasteurized cider. I always used store bought juice like Motts or something.
My question for the group is about sterilizing the juice to prevent bad yeasts or infections. I've read through the forum and most answers point to Campden, but some part of me feels odd about using chemicals to sterilize the juice. Plus I will have to order them online and have them shipped to me and I'd prefer to get the cider started this weekend.
Should I use
A) Campden tablets (and just get over my hesitation about chemicals);
B) Pasteur's method of holding the juice at 145 degrees F for 30 minutes (as opposed to boiling which I've always heard reduces the quality).
With my meads, I always brought the must just up to boiling and then dropped it back to 150F for 30 minutes to sterilize the fruit (most were made fruit).