Thursday, June 11, 2009

A tall glass of cider

Back in November I froze a half gallon of fresh apple cider from Red Apple Farm in Phillipston. When I buy something tasty and special that keeps well, I never know when to eat or drink it. So I thawed this cider out this week because it's my birthday. (Was, actually.)

Cider keeps very well frozen and this is delicious. I don't drink enough cider to be able to spout off about it the way I do about whole apples, but I found it sweet without being cloying the way some cider can be. Whatever they made it out of had something to balance all that sugar, because cider is sweet. Indeed there were hints of citrus and melon swimming about in the rich cider taste.

This treat is very welcome this time of year, with local apples still a good six weeks off and high season not until September.

As an experiment, I had a little at room temperature to see if cold had suppressed any of the subtler flavors. It turns out that one thing chilling suppresses is sweetness, which overpowered the other flavors at room temperature. This was less satisfying, but also interesting, as a kind of rich spiciness also came to the fore, like mulled cider.

This cider is unpasteurized, which as I've said before tastes better but also entails some risk of bacterial contamination. In my opinion pasturization is a good idea for cider that is pressed or blended in big batches from many different sources, because the potential is there for contamination of all the cider from one of those many sources.

If your immune system is in good shape, though, I think the risk is small from one-press operations like Red Apple (or Phils, another grower who sells the good stuff in season).

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