It is easy to imagine cider as a relatively new trend, especially as more and more cideries appear, and the market booms. However, cider has been around for thousands of years. The history of cider shows us that Julius Caesar himself came across the Celtic Britons fermenting a drink from crabapples in 55 BCE.
In the UK any fermented apple drink is known as cider, but in the US, to distinguish between soft and alcoholic drinks, the fermented version is known as hard cider. Whether you enjoy soft or hard cider is a matter of choice, but making your own can be a true joy. Here is a short guide to making cider at home.
There is nothing to stop you from making any cider drink at home, but if you plan to make hard cider there are some laws and rules you should understand.
There are provisions in place for allowing individuals to transport cider to festivals and tastings without breaking the law. It should be noted though, that state law differs throughout the country, and you should check your local regulations before transporting hard cider to any competition.
State statutes surrounding home alcohol making are in place to control the distribution and sale of various beverages. Each adult in a home can make up to 100 gallons of hard cider per year legally. The biggest legal concerns come when someone intends to sell homemade hard cider, or transport it.
Now that you know you are largely allowed to make hard cider at home, you should understand the basics.
Here are the basic steps to making hard cider.
Your apples should be ripe, and perfectly clean. This is important so that unwanted bacteria aren’t introduced into the fermenting process.
For a sweet cider choose apples such as Gala or Golden Delicious. If you prefer a tarter cider then perhaps Braeburn or Jonathan would work well.
This is time-consuming and can be messy depending on your method. An apple mill help turn the fruit into a pulp, and then a basket press will extract the juice.
Depending on how much cider you are making you will need a suitable container for your juice. Once this is established you have two choices for fermentation, the easiest being to use a cultured yeast.
Sulfur dioxide can be added to protect from bacteria that can cause the cider to spoil, and the container should be placed somewhere cool. It takes a few days, or sometimes a few weeks, for your cider to fully ferment using cultured yeast.
However, if you wish to make soft cider at home, you can make this quickly and simply with an Instant Pot.
This is a non-alcoholic drink that can be enjoyed by anyone in the family and is a quick introduction to making cider at home before trying more complicated fermentation methods. Instant Pot apple cider made at home is a novel way to make what might be the perfect summer drink.
The inclusion of other fruits adds to the complexity of this soft cider and is something seen often in Scandinavian hard ciders too.
You can serve with the cinnamon sticks and cranberries from the pot, and add orange slices too. Alternatively, use sour cherries instead of cranberries in the recipe.
Through the centuries, hard cider has risen in popularity. It was used, believe it or not, as a type of currency in the 15th century. In modern times, the UK and Australia have typically been the biggest markets for hard cider, but now the US has seen a surge in the drink’s popularity.
Somewhere around 48% of UK households regularly buy hard cider, and in the US 10 times, more cider is drunk now than in 2012. The world’s hard cider industry has been valued at $14.57 billion and is predicted to be worth $26.2 billion by 2030.
Cider festivals and tasting competitions abound across the states and Europe, and thousands of people enjoy making their own soft and hard ciders.
Whether you love soft or hard cider, there has never been a more promising time for these beverages. It is easy to track down unusual and craft ciders today, and fermenting your own is simple too. You may even be picked out for an award for one of the best ciders around.
If you are one of the millions who own an Instant Pot, then making a soft apple cider couldn’t be easier either. The best thing, cider recipes can be adapted and changed to suit your palate. Whether you prefer sweet or dry, there are plenty of apple varieties to suit.