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Cider Apple Guide: Bittersharps

When I first learned there were more—many more—apples than I could find at my local Shoprite, I went on a mission to try every one of them. But I didn't want to try them in the delicious, fermented form for which they were intended. I wanted to pull each cider apple off the tree and take a big ol' bite out of it. Because if you are really into cider, then you can handle the coarse, papery fruit that's often referred to as 'inedible?' Right? I was sure that once I got past that first bite—like spitting out that first sip of hard liquor—there would be a world of wonder beneath. Well, I was wrong. More

Cider Apple Guide: Bittersweets

If there is one style of apple prized above all others by American cider makers, it's the bittersweet apple. Affectionately referred to as a "spitter," these apples are low in acid, high in tannin, and impart the classic flavor of finer French and English ciders. At first bite, most would consider bittersweet fruit inedible. But what is ill suited for the fruit bowl is ideal for the cider press. More

Cider Apple Guide: Sharps, Sweets, and Sharp-Sweets

Most of the trees bearing traditional cider apples in the US were replaced during Prohibition, and even though American cider makers are planting hundreds of acres of cider fruit trees each year, those trees aren't bearing a ton of fruit just yet. In the meantime, the same varieties you see at your local grocery story—favorites such as Gala, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith—provide the base for most American cider today. Thankfully, when blended with more structured cider fruits, these apples can still make a fine cider. More

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