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Apple Cider

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2010

Few things taste more delicious than sweet, homemade apple cider.

Cider Versus Juice
The uncooked, unfiltered product of crushing and pressing fresh apples, pure apple cider has a much stronger flavor than traditional apple juice and often contains solid bits of fruit.

Apple Varieties
The best-tasting cider contains at least two apple varieties: as a general rule of thumb, the more varieties of apples used, the more complex the flavor. Red Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, and Green Delicious are used to make sweet apple cider. Pink Lady, Winesap, McIntosh, and Granny Smith are used to make tangy and sharp-flavored cider. For sweet cider, combine two parts sweet variety and one part tart; for a drier batch, reverse the mixture.

Approximately 30 to 40 apples will yield one gallon of cider. Apples used for cider do not have to be flawless, but they do need to be free of spoilage, which would cause the juice to ferment too rapidly. Fallen apples should not be used for cider, as they may be contaminated.

Cider Storage
To be safe, make sure cider has been pasteurized, particularly if visiting a family farm or local farmer's market. If you're making fresh apple cider at home, heat to 160 degrees for about 6 to 8 seconds to pasteurize before drinking. After pasteurization, cider can be frozen for longer storage.

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