Every year on November 18th, cider lovers around the United States raise their glasses to celebrate National Apple Cider Day. This cherished holiday pays tribute to the rich history and cultural significance of this delicious beverage. In this blog post, we’ll take a journey through time to uncover the origins of National Apple Cider Day. Stay tuned, because we’re also sharing the best apple cider recipe.
The Roots of National Apple Cider Day
Officially established in 2019, National Apple Cider Day recognizes the importance of this iconic American drink. Due to the growing appreciation for artisanal cider-making and a desire to preserve traditional methods, Apple Cider Day was created. Celebrated across the nation, this day serves as a reminder of the deep connection between apple cider and American culture.
The Ancient Origins of Apple Cider
The roots of apple cider go back thousands of years to ancient civilizations. The earliest known references to apple-based beverages date back to 55 BC when the Romans invaded Britain. Indigenous people of the region were already fermenting apple juice, but the Romans refined the process and introduced it to a wider audience.
The American Apple Boom
When European settlers arrived in North America in the 17th century, they brought with them a love for apples and a knowledge of cider-making. The New World provided climate and soil that was perfect for apple cultivation, leading to an explosion in orchards. Cider quickly became a cornerstone of colonial life, with many households boasting their own cider press.
From Hard Cider to Sweet Cider
In the early days, cider referred exclusively to the fermented variety. The sobriety movement gained momentum in the 19th century. At this time, people started to separate “hard” cider from “sweet” or non-alcoholic cider. The movement aimed to promote apple orchards for non-alcoholic cider production, giving rise to the sweet, unfermented apple juice we enjoy today.
The Modern Cider Renaissance
In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional cider-making methods and heirloom apple varieties. Craft cideries have emerged across the country, producing a wide range of unique and flavorful ciders. This renaissance has sparked a renewed appreciation for the complexity and diversity of apple cider.
How is Apple Cider Made?
You can make apple cider by crushing and pressing apples to extract the juice. You then ferment the juice, which involves allowing natural yeasts or adding specific strains of yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol. The fermentation process can take several weeks, resulting in alcoholic apple cider. If you prefer to make non-alcoholic cider, the juice is left in its natural, sweet state without fermentation.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for You?
Apple cider vinegar has been associated with various health benefits.* It contains acetic acid, which may aid in digestion, weight loss, and blood sugar regulation. Additionally, it may have antimicrobial properties and could potentially support heart health. However, it’s important to use it in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional before making any serious changes to your diet.
What Are the Health Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider?
Drinking apple cider, especially non-alcoholic, can provide various health benefits. It’s a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It may support digestion, aid in hydration, and could even reduce the risk of some cancers. However, like any beverage, we suggest drinking apple cider in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
What’s the Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Juice?
The main difference between apple cider and apple juice is in their processing. Apple cider is typically made by crushing apples and then pressing them to extract the juice. It’s often unfiltered and may contain some pulp, giving it a more robust flavor. Apple juice, on the other hand, is filtered to remove solids, resulting in a clear, smooth liquid.
Is Apple Cider Alcoholic?
Apple cider can be alcoholic. When apple juice is fermented, the natural sugars in the juice are converted into alcohol. The end result is alcoholic cider. The level of alcohol content can vary depending on factors such as the type of apples used and the fermentation process.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last?
Apple cider depends on whether it’s pasteurized or unpasteurized. Unpasteurized cider, which hasn’t undergone heat treatment, has a shorter shelf life and should be refrigerated. Due to the shorter shelf life, we suggest drinking it within a few weeks. Pasteurized cider, however, can last longer and you can store it in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Can You Ferment Apple Cider at Home?
Yes, you can ferment apple cider at home. This involves allowing the natural yeasts present in the environment or adding specific strains of yeast to the apple juice to initiate the fermentation process. For the best results, make sure to follow proper sanitation and fermentation techniques.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar the Same as Apple Cider?
No, apple cider vinegar is not the same as apple cider. You can make apple cider vinegar by fermenting apple cider, allowing it to undergo a second fermentation process. This converts the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives it the sour taste. Due to its potential health benefits, many people incorporate apple cider into their recipes.
Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss?
Some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar may help with weight loss by promoting feelings of fullness and reducing calorie intake. Additionally, it may have a positive impact on blood sugar levels and metabolism. However, it’s important to use it in moderation and as part of a balanced diet and exercise regimen. We suggest consulting a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.
Now that you’re up to speed on the rich history of apple cider, let’s bring the celebration closer to home with a delicious homemade apple cider recipe that captures the essence of this beloved beverage.
Easy Homemade Apple Cider Recipe
By: Tatiana Lewis
Not only is this apple cider recipe easy and cost-effective, but it’s also quick to make. Within 15 minutes, you’ll be sipping your new favorite drink for this winter.
- 6 cups apple juice or cider-buy your favorite brand
- ¼ cup maple syrup- we recommend using real maple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 whole allspice berries±
- 1 orange peel, cut into 6 strips
- 1 lemon peel, cut into 6 strips
±If you can’t find whole allspice berries, ¼ tsp of allspice powder also works.
How Do You Make Hot Apple Cider?
Pour apple cider and maple syrup into a large pot or saucepan.
Place cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel, and lemon peel in the center of a square of washed cheesecloth;± fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a food safe twine. Now drop it into the cider mixture.
±If you don’t have a cheesecloth, put all the spice and citrus peels in the cider mixture and strain the cider with a fine mesh strainer instead.
Place the saucepan over medium-high heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cider is hot but not boiling. Adjust for taste and add more spices or citrus peels to your desire.
Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle or strain the cider into another large pot or bowl. Once ready, ladle the cider into your favorite mugs or cups. You can also add a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving if desired. Add your favorite alcoholic beverage such as spiced rum, brandy, flavored whiskey, or flavored vodka to make this a hard hot apple cider. We hope you enjoy this apple cider recipe!
Cheers to National Apple Cider Day
National Apple Cider Day is a celebration of the enduring legacy of apple cider in American culture. From its ancient origins to the modern craft cider renaissance, this beverage has stood the test of time. So, on November 18th, raise your glass and toast to the history, tradition, and deliciousness of apple cider. Cheers!
Planning on making this recipe for Thanksgiving? Make sure to check out our other blog posts, “10 Smart Ways to Save Money on Thanksgiving Costs” and “How to Host a Beautiful Thanksgiving on a Budget“.
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