Welcome to CiderUp.com where we offer an affordable do-it-yourself hard cider kit, as well as a free hard cider recipe. This is the same exact recipe we include with our hard cider kits. We also provide some additional information about hard cider and the making of hard cider.
The Full CiderUp kit comes with a 1 gallon glass jug with cap, an airlock, a rubber stopper, and two packets of Red Star Pasteur Champagne Wine Yeast. All for $16 plus shipping and handling.
We also offer a kit without the jug for just $5 plus shipping and handling.
History of Hard Cider
Most accounts say that hard cider began in Europe with the Celts and Normans. Because the grapes for wine were harder to grow in the northern parts of Europe they found ways to make alcohol from other fruits, most popular of which was the apple. The English are most often attributed with the perfection of hard cider and the popularity of hard cider in America.
The English colonists brought plenty of things to grow in the new world but apples seemed to take better to the different environment. The colonists began cultivating the apples creating better, more resilient strands with many different flavors. By the late 1700s the majority of the apples grown were used not for consumption but for the creation of hard cider. Hard cider by this time had become the most common drink in America. According to Ben Watson in his book Cider Hard and Sweet—History, Traditions and Making Your Own, in 1767 the citizens of Massachusetts consumed more than 35 gallons of cider per person! It is also documented that the forefathers of the United States of America enjoyed hard cider. John Adams attributed his good health and long life to a tankard of cider before breakfast. Thomas Jefferson grew many different varieties of apples and enjoyed experimenting with the different apples in his cider making.
Hard cider continued its popularity into the 1800s due to Johnny Appleseed. Who planted many apple trees in the mid-west, the frontier at the time. Johnny Appleseed was a naturalist and did not like to graft the apple trees, so he planted seeds instead. However, the fruit from trees grown from apple seeds do not have much in common with the original trees. So the fruit was not meant for eating but for drinking. Because Johnny Appleseed brought the apples for creating cider, he became welcome in every home.
Hard cider also became an integral part of our traditions. Thanks to Mike Brouty we found that, in rural New York in the 1800s when building a barn they would drink a jug of hard cider and then bury the empty jug under the floorboards for good luck, said to be a Scots-Irish tradition. In addition we may have gotten the phrase "blow your cork," meaning to become highly agitated or angry, from the old days when cider was made in 1 inch thick ceramic jugs which rather than explode would blow the cork.
It's hard to believe a drink so popular and rooted in American history would become an endangered species. However, that is exactly what happened as we moved further and further west. The more arid west would not support apple trees as well as the east, and as we began moving more to urban centers cider became a drink more common with farmers in rural areas than the cities. Then prohibition hit, and the art of hard cider almost died all together. It was not until 1978 when President Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing that cider began to make a comeback. From microbreweries to the home kits, cider is again becoming more and more popular.
Hard cider was so easy to make, it became a drink enjoyed by all, not just by the privileged. Hard cider required little more than a clean container, some fruit juice, a good recipe and some patience. This remains true today, and we provide all but juice and patience.
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