Hurray, cider is healthy!
We always knew it, but it’s nice to have confirmation from science. According to scientists at the University of Glasgow, in fact, cider is as rich in antioxidants as red wine, another alcoholic beverage recognized for its health benefits. Like the latter, cider contains a particular antioxidant known as phenolic, which has shown to be effective in preventing heart disease, strokes and cancer. Consumed in moderation, then, cider can be considered a real natural medicine.
Cider’s Ancient Origins
A traditional European drink, Cider has been drunk ever since ancient times. Ancient Roman literature provides the first recorded reference to the cider-making custom and describes the practice that Julius Caesar’s legions discovered in their invasion of Britain, and evidently deemed it worth taking back to Rome with them when they left.
Make Your Own Cider (no yeast, no sugar)
Yes, the other good news is that cider can easily be made at home. In countries like the USA and UK cider-making, like beer-making, can freely and legally be done at home (unless it is sold!), since it involves fermentation and not distillation. Here is how to make your own fresh cider in 7 simple steps.
- Use either home-grown or shop-bought apples (organic, of course, unless you like your cider laced with pesticides!). They should be ripe but not bruised or old (if picking them straight from the tree leave them for a week or so before using; if they are windfall apples make sure they are intact and fresh).
- Wash the apples thoroughly (leave the peel on organic apples for extra nutrients), then core and quarter.
- Blend the apples till smooth, then place the pulp in a muslin bag (if using a large quantity a clean pillow case can be used). Squeeze out the juice into a bowl.
- Using a funnel, pour the juice into clean glass bottles, leaving a space of 1 inch at the top. Do not seal the bottles as they may explode with the built-up carbon dioxide; a good tip is to ‘cork’ them with a piece of cotton wool.
- The apple juice should be stored for a few days (3 or 4) at a temperature of 72°F (22°C), after which time strain it and throw away the sediment.
- The cider is then ready to be pasteurized in order to make it safe for consumption. In a stainless steel pot heat the cider to a temperature of 160-170°F (71-77°C). Skim and throw away the foam that forms on the top.
- Pour into heated glass bottles (using the funnel again) and seal with caps. The bottled cider can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for up to a year.