Several months ago I posted a video on Youtube called How to make organic hard cider in about 5 minutes. The idea of our projects and videos is to learn simple and affordable ways to eat, drink and live healthy, and the Cider video is in the same category. The article for the video is here. Many thousands of views and several pages of comments later, I’m posting this quick FAQ to answer some of the most common objections, which are:
“It’s not organic”
A: Yes, Organic apple juice is organic. Even better is cold pasteurized, unfiltered organic apple juice. Read the label to ensure there are no preservatives, which there should not be if it’s organic, yet some will add organic preservatives – you don’t want that either. At the time I made the video, organic apples were going for somewhere around $2.80 per pound. It takes about 12 pounds of apples to make a gallon of juice, so the goal of this video is to have an affordable, accessible solution, $36 versus $6.
“Real cider does not have added sugar.”
A: This is true. Adding sugar to the recipe makes it Apple Wine rather than cider. I did not know this when I started. If you do not want to add sugar to increase the alcohol level, then simply don’t add sugar. Most cider varies in alcohol content between 2% to 8%. Adding a cup of sugar to a gallon of cider increases the alcohol content a couple of percent. Some ciders from Canada have an alcohol content up to 20%, because the sugar level in the apples increases due to frost.
Similarly, in beer making, you can use many different kinds of sugar to enhance the flavor or change the recipe, but you must have a certain percentage of Barley sugar to call it, “beer.”
“Is it possible for you to get real cider from ____________ region (somewhere in Europe)?”
A: I can get “real” imported and domestic cider at Whole Foods and at the liquor store. I have “real” cider whenever I’m in the UK or Europe. It’s an interesting inference that if I like the Cider I’m making that I’ve never had “real” cider. Another possible interpretation is that the method I’m using makes a very drinkable beverage, even for someone who has had “real” cider.
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“Real cider is made in oak casks.”
A: Requiring an oak cask for any project like this would put it out of reach for most of the people I know. If it’s a taste concern, even many craft wine makers who use glass carboys add toasted oak chips to the mix if they want oak flavor. I am not going to buy an oak cask anytime soon.
“You don’t add Vodka to cider.”
A: That is correct. If you watch the video, I’m adding Vodka to the airlock, not to the cider. I add a small amount of Vodka to the airlock because it prevents mold and anything undesirable from growing there. In the small gallon container, it’s easy to have apple juice bubble into the airlock, and sometimes to have fluid from the airlock pull back into the container. Vodka is a simple trick to ensure nothing bad grows in the airlock, and anything that backflows doesn’t ruin the taste or contribute evil gunk into your cider.
“How is 30 days 5 minutes?”
A: The video shows you how to MAKE cider in 5 minutes, but it still takes 30-60 days to ferment and brew. The difference is in the definition of the words, “make” and “ferment.”
“How do you counter the effect of the preservatives in the bottled juice?”
I don’t do anything except what you see in the video. I try to use the most organic juice with the least amount of additives, but I don’t believe this has ever been a problem. Within a very short time period you can see the yeast activate.
“Hard Cider is an Americanism – there is no such thing as hard cider”
A: Seems like a non-issue since everyone knows what I’m talking about. I didn’t invent the term which even Wiki refers to as “current usage” so feel free to complain to someone else about how several hundred million Americans refer to Cider.
My Unreal Cider may not win any taste tests where you live, but it’s organic, made at home, unfiltered to enhance the B vitamin content, and in my price range. I want to live better by re-learning basic skills, so don’t be a Cider Snob, or a Homebrew Hater. Get on board the SustainHillbillity Bus and help transform the world around you from rampant consumerism to handmade and homemade.
My request to cider “purists” is to splurge, spend the $6 and try making some yourself. You can help by improving the process and the recipe and lending your expert palate to positive change.