Apple Cider

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Intro: Apple Cider

Apple Cider is a delicious treat that's easy to make. Basic apple cider is simple: juice a bunch of apples, add some spices, and serve! There are a lot of ways to make cider more interesting, however. In this instructable, I share my recipe for a simple apple cider that uses a variety of apples for an interesting (but classic) flavor. I also added a bit of orange and lemon.

Note: This is a basic apple cider instructable. For more ideas, see Hot Ginger-Spiced Apple Cider by ewilhelm or Home Brew Hard Cider from Scratch by actsofsubterfuge.

Step 1: Apple Cider Vs. Apple Juice

You may be wondering "If I'm basically just juicing apples, what's the difference between apple cider and apple juice?" Well, as it turns out, there's no widely agreed-upon distinction. I tend to think that cider is simply unfiltered and spiced, whereas juice is just the juice. Here are few other explanations, from The Straight Dope:

"(1) There is no difference at all. (Source: large midwestern bottler.) Uncle Sam confirms that there is no legal distinction. In other words, it is all marketing booshwa. But see below."

"(2) The store-bought stuff is juice, the homemade stuff is cider. (Source: East Coast conglomerate; also, the old edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.) The product you buy from roadside stands usually has not been pasteurized. Consequently, it ferments over time, giving it a mildly alcoholic kick. What you buy in the store, in contrast, is pasteurized soon after crushing, preventing fermentation and resulting in a pleasant but kickless taste. The manufacturers call their product cider in the fall for marketing purposes."

"(3) Cider is made from apples that are picked early. (Source: Washington State outfit that claims to be the country's largest maker of juice and cider.) Early-harvest apples supposedly have higher acid and lower sugar content, producing a drink with a tangier taste. Thus true cider remains cider after processing because pasteurization doesn't affect the acid/sugar content. Therefore, the company claims, it's possible to make not only frozen cider concentrate, contrary to your assertion, but also "sludgy"--i.e., unfiltered, hence cloudy--apple juice. The guy I got all this from says his company is quite scrupulous about monitoring the acidity of its product and changing the labels accordingly."

Step 2: How Ya Like Them Apples?

Apples are the base of your cider. You can add spices or blend in other juices (like I did) and you can even ferment the cider to make it a "hard cider." However, it's amazing how much you can vary the flavor of your cider simply by choosing the right apples.

I did my shopping at the Berkeley Bowl, a food market that is famous for its variety of produce. I ended up with a mix of apples, mostly inexpensive ones:

  • 3 lbs of Red Delicious apples (the apple-y base)
  • 2 lbs of Granny Smith apples (for tartness)
  • 2 lbs of Shinko apple pears (for an interesting pear-y sweetness)

I also picked up four juice oranges and four lemons, to add a hint of citrus.

Step 3: Rinse, Cut, and Juice

This step went very quickly because I was able to use a juicer. I rinsed off the skins, quartered the apples, and fed them into the juicer. The citrus was quartered, peeled, and them fed into the juicer.

If you don't have a juicer, this step will be a bit more time consuming, but still tons of fun. Just wash the apples and then core them (you don't want apple seeds and their cyanide in your cider!) Now, you can use a food processor to puree them smooth, like apple sauce. Then, you pour the pureed apples into a piece of cheesecloth over your container, wrap it up, and carefully squeeze the juice into the container below. The oranges and lemons can be juiced by hand with a citrus reamer or another hand juicer.

Step 4: Blending and Seasoning

As you juice, you should sample the resulting cider. I juiced a handful of apples, mixed the juice into a big punch bowl, and took a little taste. Then, I'd add more juices from different apples and the citrus until I had the taste I wanted. The cider will change flavors in really nice ways as you craft your blend. I wanted mine full-bodied and very apple-tasting, but tart. The tartness is why the Granny Smith apples were used. The orange juice and lemon juice gave it that lighter, citrus flavor.

I grated in some a fresh clove and then added cinnamon and nutmeg. There was about a teaspoon or two of each, which added a subtle spicy flavor. Experiment!

The spices may clump up a bit, but a wire whisk made short work of them.

Step 5: Done!

I ended up with about a gallon and a half of delicious cider, which I set out in a punch bowl for a big meal. For a bit of garnish, you can add a cinnamon stick or let people spice or spike their concoction to taste.

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    40 Discussions

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    cupcake12309

    3 years ago

    This is so easy to make! :)

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    BgRdDragon

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I just made this and it turned at very good =-). the only downside is that its hard to get all that mush stuff out....

    1 reply
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    SIRJAMES09

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I personally refuse to drink anything with alcohol in it or that has been fermented into an alcoholic drink...

    Having said that, I love non-alcoholic cider...apple juice, I can take it or leave it.

    One thing I have noticed through the years is that non-alcoholic cider has bits & pieces of apple in it..very small bits & pieces. does this add to the flavor? I have no idea, but I think it adds to the experience of enjoying the cider.

    TY Sir for sharing!!
    looks like I'm going shopping tomorrow!! :)

    I think 10 - 15 pounds of apples should make enough cider to last me a while...LOL

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    #OccupyInstruct

    6 years ago on Step 2

    id use gala and fuji apples for sweetness and some granny smith's for the bitter/sour to balance it out. ALSO you could throw in an asian pear... i love asian pears :D

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    Graham56

    7 years ago on Introduction

    From the Chambers Dictionary---- Cider (noun) an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple-juice. We buy the stuff you have made from are local store and it's called Spiced apple juice ?.

    3 replies
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    nagutronGraham56

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Just looked this up, again. See the reply I made to punkzombiehunter:

    "Wikipedia makes a distinction between "Cider" and "Apple Cider", with only the former being alcoholic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_cider

    So, it's just language, but using "Apple Cider" to describe the non-alcoholic drink is certainly a common usage.

    Now you know!"

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    pedleyfiggnagutron

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    This side of the pond cider is alcoholic and juice isn't. All depends on where you are buying your ingredients, that and mulled cider is a great traditional drink.

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    faelenornagutron

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You're right nagutron. And here is a more reliable source than wikipedia, the Merriam-Webster dictionnary:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cider?show=0&t=1289220316

    We learn something new everyday! I was also convinced that cider has to be fermented...

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    hawkeyejr

    7 years ago on Introduction

    As the instructable states "cider is made from early picked apples" so you cannot make cider from ripe apples Ie the acid /sugar content,this is the difference between cider and juice.Also this is the reason that you can get "fresh" cider when the apples are ripe it does take a little time to make cider in bulk. If you use store bought or "market apples you are just juicing,as per the standard practice of cider making.Fresh unpasteurized cider will start to turn "hard" in 4-6 weeks on it own,but if this is what you want it is best to use a fermentation lock for this purpose. and if you want it "harder" you can add sugar and brewers yeast,but that is really just muddy wine.

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    Wikipedia makes a distinction between "Cider" and "Apple Cider", with only the former being alcoholic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_cider

    So, it's just language, but using "Apple Cider" to describe the non-alcoholic drink is certainly a common usage.

    Now you know!

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    good old american's taking a good english word and tainting it ;) well I learn something new everyday :D

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    b1russell

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Fabulous - now how do I turn this into apple cider vinegar?!? Another instructable in the future, perhaps? Thanks!