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Just so you know, there are about 2 lbs of apples in each glass of apple cider. Yum. I love cider. But only our cider. Picky, picky, picky. Yep. 

What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Juice has been filtered, so that there is no pulp. It tends to be clear, and a light golden amber in color. Cider is unfiltered and unsweetened, pressed from apples. It is dark brown and opaque due to the apple pulp in suspension in the liquid. 

I lived In Colorado for almost 10 years. Beautiful countryside, right at the base of the Rockies. Gorgeous. But they don’t grow apples and they sure as shooting did not have cider. The first fall I was there, I searched. And searched. I found stuff labeled as “Apple Cider,” but it was filtered and clear, just like apple juice. I gave up. I drank cider when I came home to visit. And since I’ve been back to stay, cider remains a favorite.

Ingredients: apples. No preservatives, no added sugar, pressed fresh, not from concentrate. Nothing added, nothing taken out.

My personal preference is for sweet cider—fresh. All cider, including pasteurized cider, will “turn,” meaning it starts developing a little carbonation and alcohol. The natural yeast present on the apple skins passes to the cider and develops alcohol in a few weeks. As the fermentation process continues, one has “hard cider.”  And if you let the process develop into acetification, you have apple cider vinegar. Cider vinegar with the “mother” has not had the pulp filtered out. Most of it breaks down in the acetification process (Isn’t that a great word? It means to convert to vinegar or to acetic acid.), but a bit remains at the bottom of the container. Just so you know, vinegar keeps forever.

Cider will have subtle differences in flavor each month from September to May, depending on the apples used in the pressing.

How to press cider: in the olden days, you used a horse to pull a wheel in a trough, which crushed the apples, sending the juice and pulp into a barrel. It takes about 1/3 of a bushel (16-17 lbs) to make one gallon of cider. Nowadays, apples are washed, cut, ground into a mash, which is then wrapped in cheesecloth and placed on racks. Then pressed by a hydraulic press! The resulting juice is stored in refrigerated tanks and then UV or heat pasteurized to kill bacteria. What is left after pressing goes for animal feed.

Hard cider was a popular drink in medieval and Tudor England, and still is today. The UK still has the world’s highest per capita consumption of hard cider. The Americans drank hard cider also, saving that tradition from the British. The making of alcoholic cider requires the fermentation process, helped with adding pectic enzymes and yeast. It is not my goal to instruct anyone on making hard cider here.  You will have to find a different guide for that!

In the meantime, continue to savor our fresh cider. Cold, hot, spiced, acetified, fermented…your choice! Enjoy!

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