[NAFEX] Cider Making

David.Maxwell at dal.ca David.Maxwell at dal.ca
Fri Feb 22 17:19:17 EST 2008

On 21 Feb 2008 at 22:03, Richard MURPHY wrote:

> I never ate a Cider apple. But, I might guess that a part of their redeeming reputation is based on qualities 
> that were otherwise unavailable in olden times.

I can assure you that you do not want to eat a cider apple - they are mostly inedible 
- astringent (real pucker-power) because of the high tannin ("bitter"), may have high 
sugar ("bitter-sweet"), but mostly low in acid, (acids contributed to mixture by 
"sharps" if you like a 'vinegary' taste (and some do!).  Their reputation has nothing 
to do with things that were unavailable in olden times (but are in more modern 
apples) - they are very specifically selected for qualities which in fact are lacking in 
modern apples, at least in North America. (The broad exception to this statement is 
the inclusion of Russets in cider making - in general Russets are quite edible, 
(although I personally am not fond of them).  Development of new cider varieties 
continues in Britain (at Long Ashton - the only research station I know of where the 
entire focus is on cider apples) and on the continent (the French have active work 
on cider production, and of course Calvados is distilled from cider.)  Now, all this is 
predicated on the understanding of what we mean by "cider" (or as I prefer, to 
distinguish it from other apple beverages, "cyder").  Real cyder, as made in Britain 
and the continent is a very specific drink that is very much an acquired taste, and 
not to the liking of most North Americans.  I suspect that it would be difficult to 
duplicate with eating or cooking apple varieties.

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