Hard Cider

Deep winter, and I find myself reaching into the pantry more and more.  Thanks to my efforts last fall, my freezer and my pantry are loaded. But I will admit that I took on more than I could handle last year.  I exhausted myself with the work of gardening, foraging, and putting things away. The good news is that I will probably be able to enjoy those efforts for a few years to come.

And there are a few special treats to be found as well.  I put up apple cider in two forms. Once I got my hand on fresh unpasteurized apple cider, I put it in a cool place in jars covered with cheesecloth just until it got a nice fizz going.  At that point, I bottled it and put it away to cure.  Yes, it really is that simple. The only real key is to make sure the apple cider hasn't been pasteurized because it won't culture otherwise.

The second way I prepared cider started out like the first, by putting the apple cider into jars covered with cheesecloth.  But these jars I let sit until they got quite alcoholic, or hard, before bottling.  There's a fine line to walk when making hard cider, and it is dependent solely upon taste.  At a certain point, there is a good balance of alcohol and crisp apple taste, and then, not a week later, you've got rocket fuel on your hands.  And the only way to know is to taste, taste, taste it (a fun task).

So this week, for no special reason, I cracked open both a bottle of the bubbly apple cider, and some of the hooch, and enjoyed a little tasting party.  Each sip reminded me of the cool autumn air and falling angle of the sun.  Nah, not really, that's a load of hooey, but it sure did warm up my toes on a cold February day.

I'm sharing this post with Fight Back Friday.

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