Teaching kids (and parents) foraging, cooking, traditional skills and living well on less
I was chatting with my friend Polly from Glasgow, Scotland (imagine Craig Ferguson’s accent, but prettier. A lot prettier.), and I mentioned that we had given our children some apple cider. She was horrified. “Ye do that with your weans?” I told her cider is no big deal, and she pointed out that cider is alcoholic. I said “That’s hard cider.” She said “What’s hard cider?”
It was another case of two countries separated by a common language. In the UK, if your apple juice is alcoholic, it’s cider. If it’s not, it’s juice. That’s all there is to it.
In the USA, it’s a bit more complicated. According to the Massachusetts state website:
“To make fresh cider, apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash that is the consistency of applesauce. Layers of mash are wrapped in cloth, and put into wooded racks. A hydraulic press squeezes the layers, and the juice flows into refrigerated tanks. This juice is bottled as apple cider.
Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. Vacuum sealing and additional filtering extend the shelf life of the juice.”
So it’s cider if it’s pressed apple juice, and it’s juice if it’s… juice. That’s been filtered and pasteurized.
So what’s hard cider? That’s an American term, because it’s alcoholic. “Hard” drinks have alcohol, and “soft” drinks do not. That’s why colas and such are called soft drinks — they’re non-alcoholic. Cool, huh?
Fermentation is what makes it happen. That’s when yeast converts sugar to other things, like gas (in the case of bread) and alcohol (in the case of wine and cider). If it’s not fermented, it’s just juice. “Sparkling” juice or cider just means there’s carbonation added to make it fizzy.
Those terms are just the tip of the iceberg, though. A short list of fermented fruit drinks includes:
This list doesn’t begin to describe all of the variations of fermented fruit drinks you can make (wine, fruit wine, etc.) but should give you a few new ideas to try out.
This article originally appeared at Examiner.com