The Lost Art of Cider Making
At one time, making apple cider was not just a nice neverage to enjoy, but also a way to make the harvest go further. Apple cider was made by homesteaders, settlers and pioneers often from windfall apples. Windfall apples are the apples too bruised or over-ripe to eat. Nothing was wasted from any type of harvest and making apple cider was how our forefathers made sure that they saved and used everything. Also, if it happened to be an especially good harvest and you had too many apples, making apple cider was the best way to preserve it. Making apple cider use to be a fun and family or community event.
Apple cider making began in England. But it was a little different than what we have today. Now days, we have apple juice, apple cider and hard cider. In England in the Middle Ages, apple cider usually referred to hard cider only. I love a good hard cider myself! Maybe it’s my English heritage? 🙂 At one time in history, apple cider was so popular it was used to pay rent and tithe!
Making apple cider and hard cider are two different processes. After the harvest and all the apples that could be stored or sold were taking care of, the leftover apples became cider. Sometimes special cider apples were grown for just this purpose. The apples were carefully washed and then pressed through a mill or press to make juice. You could drink the raw, unfiltered apple cider right away. Or you could add a little yeast to the cider and begin the process of making hard cider. Though often the natural yeast on the apple skins would begin the process on its own after a few days.
Now days, it doesn’t seem like autumn without some apple cider! And it has become such a popular beverage again that it can be found in everything from doughnuts to cocktails!