Author Topic: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER  (Read 482 times)

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Offline wolfy

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Offline wsdstan

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Re: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 11:16:07 AM »
Wolfy, I didn't know about the difference between the British cider and what we generally use over here.  I have always liked apple cider and juice.  My family drank a lot of it when I was a kid.  It was all non alcoholic and if you wanted it with alcohol you added some to the cider. 

When we grew up Johnny Appleseed was a fixture in American History class.  I wonder if they still teach kids about him?

A few years ago we had an influx of Mennonites from Michigan move into the area.  These folks are all self employed and one of them is a tractor repair mechanic who also orders apples from Michigan and brings them in to sell.  He gets about seven kinds of apples, each in a large wooden crate about 4'x4' by 3' high.  He sells apples for a month or so and then starts making cider.  He made a press that separates most of the skin from the juice but it is basically unfiltered apple juice.  He sells it in five gallon buckets for the most part although this year he did have a few gallon jugs for sale but at a higher price per gallon than the five gallon buckets.  I usually buy two five gallon buckets and pour it into gallon jugs on my own.  I freeze it and with ten gallons it will last us until about the first of April.  We get it in late November.  We don't drink too much of it with alcohol added but a bit of maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon, and a shot of bourbon is pretty darn nice, you can even heat it up a bit on a cold night.  Vodka or rum goes well too but my consumption of those two has dropped off to nearly nothing these days.

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Offline imnukensc

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Re: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 11:53:38 AM »
My dad was a farm boy from West Virginia.  The farm he grew up on was where went went for summer vacation.  It seems that all of my relatives up there were always doing something with apples whether it was making applesauce, apple butter, or cider-----hard cider.  It was good stuff although as a kid I never got much more than just a taste of it.  What I do remember about it though was it tasted much better than any of the commercial hard cider crap they sell these days.

Never knew about the Brit connection and hard cider.  Interesting read.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 12:42:59 PM »
Our  recently retired park superintendent, Jeff Fields, started several wildly successful and differently themed festivals and programs at Ponca State Park.  One of which, was the Fall Harvest Festival.....very educational for most kids (and adults) that have never before seen how things were done before the advent of modern farm equipment.  One facet of the harvest of local produce includes the making of apple cider with traditional equipment.  From the picking of the apples to the grinding and pressing of the ground apples is a hands-on process that the kids are more than eager to take part in.  The cider is free to all participants and I make sure I get my fair share.....very tasty! :cheers:
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Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 02:00:34 PM »
I went through all this nomenclature confusion when I started making beverages from my plethora of annual apples.
It didn't make it any easier to learn, when a lot of folks on the winemaking forum to which I belong come from the UK, Europe, AZ and NZ!
As far as I can tell, we Americans are the only folks who call plain apple juice "cider".  Here, we must distinguish between "cider" (cold pressed apple juice), and "hard cider", which has the alcohol by volume content around 3%-6%.  Our "hard cider" is everyone else's "cider".

More info than you might want:

I make apple juice, apple cider (hard), and apple wine.  (We'll mention "Apple Jack" in a bit)
All three start with cold pressed apples after crushing.  They should be crushed, not ground, because damaged apple seeds are toxic if they are left in the juice too long.
With apple "juice", the first press is filtered repeatedly until the juice is crystal clear, like you see in the stores.  Without preservatives (e.g., potassium sorbate), it has a short shelf life in the 'fridge.
Hard cider is made by fermenting raw apple juice only using the natural sugars in the apples.  The yeast of your choice is added to the juice (I've even used bread yeast), and it sits in a bucket for a week or two. You can stop right there, pour off the liquid from the sediment in the bucket and drink, or you can transfer it to a carboy with an air lock and continue until all the sugars have been converted to alcohol.  In the latter case, the "hard cider" is back sweetened because all the sweetness in the apple juice was turned to alcohol.  There isn't all that much sugar in apples alone, so the maximum is around 6% ABV (alcohol by volume).
Apple wine is the same process as "hard cider", but you had extra sugar so the yeast has more "food" and can make more alcohol.  Fermenting apple wine with the extra sugar can result in homemade wine with as high as 18% ABV, while most store wine is around 12%.

Some folks refer to Hard Cider as "Apple Jack", acknowledging it's alcohol content.
"Apple Jack" is actually "freeze distillation".  Hard apple cider (or wine) is frozen.  The alcohol content has a lower freezing point, so you end up with a core of almost pure alcohol in a block of frozen 'juice'.  It's not really something to encourage, because with just a few variables going out of whack, instead of ethanol you can end up with methanol (wood alcohol), and that ain't no good to drink.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 04:47:07 PM »
Yeah, I knew about the 'danger' of grinding the apple seeds, but the mechanism made for grinding the apples does not actually 'grind' the seeds....it's more of a crushing action that just rips the fruit apart.  Every reference I've ever heard about the machines refers to them as a 'grinders,' not 'crushers,'......but what do I know? :P

I don't particularly care for the taste of hard cider, but I really like the taste of sweet, once-filtered, but cloudy apple cider with some 'sludge' in the bottom of the jug.....the U.S.A. version. ;)
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Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline wsdstan

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Re: THE EVOLUTION OF APPLE CIDER
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 04:56:11 PM »
That is interesting information OP.  The juice I get is from crushed apples with the larger solids and seeds filtered out (didn't know the seeds are toxic if cut open or crushed) but are not filtered to anywhere near clear.  The juice is a opaque golden color and if you don't shake it up it leaves a fair amount of sludge in the bottom.  I get it from a cooler, rebottle it, and freeze it.  Once frozen it will last for several months and maybe longer but we usually run out of it by April so about six months from first freezing it. 

It will last about 7 to 10 days in my experience.  I drink it about as fast as it thaws though so it seldom starts to smell of alcohol. 
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)