People have been harvesting apples for millennia – and enjoying apple cider for almost as long! Cider has a long history in parts of England (where it remains a popular treat), Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, and other areas. And when settlers from those areas colonized North America, they brought a taste for cider with them.
In many parts of North America, the soil and climate are perfectly suited to wild crab apples and cultivated apple orchards – both of which provisioned early cider presses. Among European settlers, alcoholic “hard” cider provided a beverage that was not only delicious, but also more shelf-stable than freshly pressed juice. In some cases, this cider was also safer to drink than local water.
In today’s world, cider is readily available in non-alcoholic “soft” form, as well as hard. Soft cider is a perishable product that must be refrigerated to keep it fresh. Otherwise, communities of wild yeast and friendly bacteria will begin to work their magic. Over the course of many days, they will transform the cider from soft to hard, fermenting sugars into alcohol and creating a boozy effervescent treat.
Those yeasty, microbial magicians make it easy to brew your own hard cider at home (as long as you’re open to a little experimentation and the varied flavours of wild fermentation).
For a truly delicious dram, you can also purchase hard cider from Ontario’s craft cideries. Members of the Ontario Craft Cider Association will be staffing the bar at this weekend’s City Cider celebration, serving a selection of hard apple goodness.
Enjoy your fill of soft or hard cider at this Sunday’s Third Annual City Cider, a late summer celebration presented by Not Far From the Tree and Spadina Museum:
When: Sunday, September 15th, 12 – 5pm
Where: Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd.
Tickets: $5 (FREE for kids under 12)