Cider is considered a close relative of apple cider vinegar and a classic manifestation of Western gastronomy. Over the past ten years, the drink has passed the rapid path of development and transformation. Even nutritionists who are skeptical of alcohol have called cider a catalyst for the right acidity and the most useful, fun drink.
In the CIS, cider appeared relatively recently, but quickly reclaimed retail space and received popular love. The main advantage of the drink is lightness and sweet and sour taste, which are successfully interwoven with alcohol. Cider is suitable both for independent use and for cooking, and its taste may vary depending on the temperature of the liquid.
What is a drink, how to make homemade cider and what you need to know about the modern alcohol market?
Cider is a low alcohol drink. It is obtained by fermenting fruit juice. The use of apple juice is considered traditional, but the alcohol market offers pear, blueberry, raspberry, grapefruit and even mint or lavender alcohol. Some formulations provide for the natural fermentation of liquids, while others - using special cultured yeast.
For the preparation of the drink, specially cultivated varieties of apples are most often used. Ordinary apples, which we see on store shelves and eat, are not entirely suitable for industrial production. Why? They contain a minimum concentration of tannins.
Tannins are phenolic compounds of plant origin that contain an abundance of hydroxyl groups. They have tanning properties and a specific astringent taste. Tannins are responsible for the rich caramel shade of the drink, sour notes and a pleasant aftertaste.
Some manufacturers still use table or dessert apples for cider. In this case, the taste, color, structure and aftertaste will be less pronounced. Usually, a number of other ingredients (both natural and chemical) are added to such drinks to make up for the missing characteristics.
Producers divide cider apples into 4 categories depending on the concentration of tannins and acid:
- sweet (little tannin and acid);
- acidic (a little tannin, a lot of acid);
- bitter-sour (a lot of tannin, a little acid);
- bitter acid (lots of tannin and acid).
The best cider is obtained from a combination of all varieties of apples, but one particular variety can be used to achieve a sweet / bitter / sour / tart flavor palette.
Important: you cannot use a fresh fruit crop for a drink. They must lie down for at least 1 week before use. Apples are peeled, sent under a press, squeezed juice from them and sent for fermentation. After that, the liquid is bottled and delivered to the point of sale.
During preparation, the drink goes through 2 different stages of fermentation. The first step is the artificial addition of yeast. In conjunction with the yeast, which is originally found on the apple peel, fruits undergo fermentation. Some growers abandon artificial ingredients and wait for apples to ferment on their own. During the first fermentation, the alcohol component of the drink is also formed - sugar ceases in ethanol. The second fermentation is already in the juice. Natural bacteria regulate the process of converting malic acid into lactic and carbon dioxide.
In many countries, the state clearly monitors the industrial production of alcoholic beverages. For example, in the UK, the minimum dose of apple juice, which should be in the cider, is set at the legislative level - 50% and higher. If this requirement is not met, the parties simply do not get on the counter and are disposed of.
The strength of the finished drink traditionally varies from 1 to 8%. As sweetness, cider is divided into several categories from dry to sweet. There is also a specific gradation of shades. The color of the cider depends on its component components and can convey the entire palette of known shades. With a low degree of filtration, the liquid may appear cloudy and form a precipitate - this does not indicate a low quality, but the production features.
In the modern alcohol market, carbonated or champagne cider holds the leading position. Its strength varies from 5 to 8%. The taste and structure of the drink is very similar to sparkling wine. The only difference is the variety of fruit flavors and combinations.
There are many theories of the origin of the apple drink. One of them mentions Charlemagne - King of the Franks (VIII-IX). Legend has it that Karl accidentally sat on a bag of overripe apples. The fruits were crushed under the weight of the ruler, but the resulting liquid became the impetus for the invention of cider. But Pliny, an ancient Roman writer, also mentioned the properties and popularity of the drink. The years of his work fall on 60-79 years of our era, which makes the version with Karl the Great nothing more than a fiction.
During the Middle Ages, cider became the national Basque beverage. This is the people who inhabited the Basque lands in southwestern France and northern Spain. In 1189, the rules for growing apples, their preparation, purification and fermentation to create an alcoholic drink were conditionally approved.
Fact. The first state to regulate apple cider production is the kingdom of Navarra. By the end of the XVI century, the drink became the most popular in the kingdom, and in terms of production volumes significantly exceeded beer. During the reign of Louis XII, one Navarre nobleman Guillon Durciu transferred the production technology to Normandy and contributed to the spread of the apple drink.
For squeezing juice, a special horse-drawn crusher and a cider press were previously used. The press was a huge tub for draining liquid, a special fruit box and weighting agents. A similar design can be made independently from improvised materials.
A traditional drink was considered seasonal and had a minimum shelf life. It was prepared and drunk in the fall - at that time large-scale cider celebrations were held, which have survived to this day. In some 19th-century French provinces, the drink became more popular than wine - a visiting card of France. But after the twentieth century, apple cider still gave way to beer. This was due to the minimum shelf life of the drink and its seasonality.
Geographical features of production
It is believed that the highest quality ciders are produced in the north of France, namely in Normandy and Brittany. Norman cider is used not only as a standalone drink, but also as a raw material for calvados. Calvados - brandy based on apple or pear cider. Cider is distilled, insisted, combined with additional components and Calvados is obtained with a strength of 40%.
In Hesse and the middle Rhine valley, a tart, slightly sour apple cider is produced, which locals call apple wine (Apfelwein). In Frankfurt, the cider festival, Apfelweinfest, is traditionally held in early autumn.
Basque country and Asturias (autonomous communities in the north of Spain) consider themselves the birthplace of the drink. Traditional cider serving in these areas looks like this: liquid is poured from a bottle from a height of 60-80 centimeters directly into a special glass.
Fact: The highest per capita consumption of cider was recorded in western England.
In Eastern Europe, the drink did not receive such tremendous approval and popularity. For example, in Poland, cider occupies only 1% of the alcohol market, and in the former Soviet republics, sales and industrial production of the beverage was launched only in the post-Soviet period. In North America, cider is not even classified as alcohol. There he is considered one of the varieties of concentrated apple juice.
Cider has taken the lion's dose of the benefits of its main ingredient, the apple. The drink with the purest and most organic composition has a rich set of vitamins / minerals that contribute to:
- vasodilatation and pressure harmonization;
- intensification of the gastrointestinal tract, acceleration of metabolic processes and increase the degree of digestibility of food products;
- reducing the risk of developing depressive states and serious problems with psycho-emotional health;
- increased salivation and increased appetite;
- blocking free radicals and protecting the body from early aging;
- accelerate lipid metabolism;
- fast and effective removal of toxins, body cleansing.
The beneficial properties of the drink depend on the variety of apples on the basis of which it was prepared. It is also necessary to pay attention to the composition. The shorter it is, the better the product in your hands. Refuse to drink with an additional portion of sugar and preservatives - it is better to find a responsible producer or make your own cider.
Cider is an organically pure drink, therefore, it contains no harmful and dangerous components (chemical additives, carcinogens, toxins). Simultaneously with a relatively low calorie content (40 - 47 kcal per 100 ml of product), cider is rich in carbohydrates, as it contains sugar added during the production process. The sugar content does not go beyond the norm and does not pose a danger to the body.
Homemade Apple Cider Recipe
This is an authentic recipe for a drink for which only apple juice is used - you will not need yeast or sugar. If you want to diversify the taste and make a few additional accents - add spices before fermentation. The taste of the finished drink depends mainly on the selected apple variety. Of the most common varieties, Antonovka is perfect.
Important: you do not need to thoroughly wash the apples with soap before fermentation. Natural yeast should remain in the peel, and the chemical components of the soap will destroy them.
Only apples are needed to make cider. The amount you can vary yourself depending on personal needs.
- massive fermentation tank (it is best to use metal or glass);
- sealed liquid storage tank;
- rubber gloves.
The total duration of fermentation is 20 days. How to understand that the fermentation is over, and the cider is ready for use? This can be understood by the rubber glove, which will cover the container with cider - it should fall. The finished liquid can be further filtered through gauze or a cotton towel.
Rinse apples under running water, cut into arbitrary slices, and remove ponytails / hard cores. Pass the prepared fruit through a press or juicer. Pour the finished juice into a glass or metal container. Capacity should be with a water lock. If there is no shutter, put on a rubber glove. The main rule is that air should not enter the liquid. Put the container in a dark place at room temperature for 20 days. At the end of this time, pour the juice into an airtight container (no precipitate must be raised) and store the cider in the refrigerator.
Using an alcoholic ingredient in cooking
Cider can be used in all recipes in which alcohol is involved. On its basis make sauces, marinades, gravy, various dressings. In cider, you can soak fruits or berries before making the pie - the taste of the ingredients is filled with a slight sourness and a characteristic alcoholic flavor.
Strawberry Gazpacho Recipe with Cider
We will need:
- fresh strawberries - 300 grams;
- dry cider or light ale to taste - 200 milliliters;
- peeled cucumber - 200 grams;
- ice - 40 grams;
- green basil - 1 branch for decoration.
Leave a few grams of fresh strawberries and cucumbers for decoration, the rest - beat in a blender until a homogeneous dense mass. Add cider to the resulting mass, mix the contents thoroughly. Pour gazpacho into a deep plate, garnish with slices of cucumber, strawberries and a sprig of green basil. Serve immediately after cooking.