Apple cider is a common drink that is enjoyed mostly in North America. It can be made at home with fresh apples or bought from many local food grocers. There is an ongoing debate about whether apple cider is an alcohol beverage or not. Some even believe it’s the same as apple juice. Find out what the difference is and how to make apple cider at home.
Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice
The word “cider” refers to alcoholic drinks while “juice” simply describes the liquid derived from fruit and vegetables. Apple cider, therefore, is when apple juice ferments and becomes alcoholic. When apples are juiced and yeast is added, it ferments and becomes “hard” apple cider.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider
One of the best reasons to learn how to make apple cider is the nutritional benefits. Apple cider has lots of vitamin C and polyphenols. Together, these nutrients build up your defense against all manner of diseases. They also help your skin look younger by increasing and preserving collagen. Collagen is the substance that plumps up skin to keep wrinkles and blemishes at bay.
Apples are also known for their dietary fiber. When fiber enters the body, it helps to break down and convert food into energy and nutrients. It also merges with your fluids to help solidify stools and to pass what you eat along your tract. Dieters should drink apple cider in moderation because of its high sugar content.
How to Make Apple Cider at Home
Learning how to make apple cider involves two processes: turning apples into cider and turning the cider into an alcoholic beverage. If you prefer a non-alcoholic drink, skip the latter stages where yeast is added. You will need:
- 20 red or yellow apples (will yield ½ gallon of cider)
- 1 packet brewing yeast
Wash your apples and cut them in half and then into quarters. You can either peel off the skin or leave it on. It’s advisable to leave skins on for nutrients. Remove seeds.
Add apples pieces to a food processor or blender. Puree the apples until they have a consistency of a sauce.
Strain the apple meal through cheese cloth or sieve, pouring the juice into a jug or jar. Refrigerate to chill and serve.
To make hard or alcoholic apple cider, mix 1 packet of yeast with ½ cup of apple cider. This is your starter. Close the jar lid tightly and shake it. When it starts to bubble, open the lid for a few seconds and close again. Allow the yeast mixture to sit overnight in the fridge.
Take out your yeast starter and sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
Pour the apple cider without yeast in a pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Be careful not to boil. Remove cider from heat and pour it in a sterilized fermenting bucket. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Add the yeast starter and stir.
Close the bucket tightly, using airlocks for support. Let the apple cider ferment in a warm place between 60 and 75 F for 3 weeks. Bottle, refrigerate and enjoy.