The alcoholic fermentation properties of apples have been known and used by men since ancient times. The recipe for what has long been called the “apple wine” has evolved over the centuries, but the principle remained the same.
The apple juice-based drink has been first mentioned in the 13th century in Spain; it was called “sydre”. The manufacturing technique was then imported across Europe, mainly in Normandy – France, and reached later the American states and other parts of the world.
The first time I tried home-made apple cider in Lebanon, was in this lovely village of Bkaatouta, a village known for its apple production, delicious apple gaining their special taste from the typical soil and favorable climate of the region. The family I visited, an old-time producer of apple, decided to take advantage of the potential of their apple orchards and their know-how to produce cider. The ample quantity of apple cider they produce in respect of traditional methods is consumed at the household level, but also makes special gifts to be enjoyed by their friends.
- Old varieties of apple are used to make cider. But a blend of new varieties – sweet (Red Delicious or Fuji) and sour (Granny Smith) is used to give a balanced taste. Make sure that the used apples are freshly picked
- In the traditional way of making apple cider, no yeast is added, nor water
- Before starting the process, make sure all used equipment, utensils and containers are sanitized
- Autumn apples are selected, washed and pressed with a kitchen juicer
- The obtained sweet juice is then put in glass gallons and allowed to stand, for 6 weeks minimum, to ferment naturally, in a cool and dry place. Gallons openings are closed with a cloth mesh, allowing contact with air, and preventing anaerobic fermentation. The slower the fermentation process, the tastier the cider
- After 6 weeks, the cider is filtered to get rid of impurities and then bottled. The natural fermentation of this artisanal cider proceeds in the bottles using natural yeasts, but on a slower rate, allowing its conservation for years
- The final product is a “demi sec” apple cider with an alcohol degree usually reaching 5-6, and is often consumed chilled
When it comes to consuming alcohol, the key is moderation*! We all know the dangers of an excessive alcohol intake, however moderate drinking can have certain health benefits such as: increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL); and lowering the chance of diabetes and heart disease. If you drink, keep it moderate! Cheers.
*Up to 1 drink per day for women; up to 2 drinks per day for men