Skip to main content

A Brief History of Hard Apple Cider

Johnny Appleseed was no legend, he was a living, breathing, apple-loving man. His actual name was John Chapman, but even during Chapman’s lifetime, which lasted from 1774 to 1845 (I’ll save you the math — he made it to 70 years old) he was known as “Appleseed.” And with good cause: homeslice loved him some apples. And he really, honestly did traverse much of America planting apple seeds and growing orchards. Also, he was an itinerant preacher who wouldn’t even make a campfire in the cold because he was worried it would attract and kill innocent insects. Weird, right? Totally weird.


Here’s the other thing: most of the apples harvested from Appleseed’s trees? They weren’t intended for eating, they were intended for drinkin’. Apples from trees grown johnny_appleseed
from seed (rather than those from trees grafted and then raised to maturity) tend to be so sour and bitter as to be unpalatable for eating, but they can still be used to make tasty booze.In fact, the first apples ever raised in America were for just that purpose as well. While some crab apples are native to the Americas, their fruit is so bitter as be almost unfit for consumption. The colonists who settled Jamestown in 1607 brought with them several varieties of apple seeds (and some trimmings from live trees), but even these apples were still sour compared to the Honeycrisp or Fuji you know today.

No problem there, though: the early settlers used their apples to make strong, hard cider. They drank hard cider because the fermentation process killed bacteria and the alcohol in the drink helped keep it free of contamination. Boozy cider was safer than often dirty water, see?

Hard Cider has been around for a long time

Cider has been consumed since time immemorial, with known varieties traced back to Ancient Greece, Gaul, Rome, and beyond. It’s enjoying a resurgence today, partly because cider is good and goddamned delicious, and partly because so many people suddenly hate gluten.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

As for apples themselves, they are actually not America’s favorite fruit; that honor goes to the banana. (Barely, though: according to the USDA, the average American eats 11.4 pounds of bananas per year compared to 10.7 pounds of apples. And 286.3 pounds of Doritos. Probably.) While not necessarily America’s #1 fruit anymore, apples still have some pretty great stuff going for them. For example…

  • More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in America!old-school-cider
  • Apples are grown in all 50 of the states. Yes, even… um… Utah!
  • Apples sales top more than 3 billion dollars annually!
  • Apple Inc., on the other hand, top 230 billion. So they win that one.
  • Almost 60% of all apples grown in America come from Washington

Apples are also free of sodium and cholesterol, rich in vitamins A,B, C, K, and in potassium, and when preserved with sugars or when dried, they can be safely stored for extended periods of time.

Just make sure to keep up those annual physicals even if you do eat a daily apple, because that whole “keeps the doctor away thing” is less than scientifically accurate.

Steven John
Steven John is a writer and journalist living just outside New York City, by way of 12 years in Los Angeles, by way of…
A unique blend to celebrate 200 years of Delamain Cognacs
The L'Oiseau Rare celebrates the founding of Delamain cognacs in 1824
delamain cognac loiseau rare delamain1

Delamain L’Oiseau Rare – Cognac Grande Champagne Delamain Cognac

A new high-end cognac is coming out from renowned brand Delamain Cognac. The L'Oiseau Rare is part of a celebration of 200 years of Delamain cognacs, which was founded in 1824, and the brand's relationship with the Grand Champagne region of France in particular.

Read more
Makgeolli is the Korean drink of the summer
It's milky, and slightly fizzy, and a little bit tangy, and it's perfect for hot evenings
makgeolli rice wine bottle

As the Korean Wave continues to sweep the globe, people all around the world are enjoying South Korean culture -- whether it's watching K-dramas, listening to K-pop, or eating delicious food like bibimbap or tteokbokki. But just as good as Korean food are Korean drinks, which are making their own mark on the foodie world. Along with the ever-increasing popularity of soju, now is the time to try out makgeolli.

Makgeolli is a type of rice wine, but it's not like the Japanese sake you may have tried in the past. Rather than clear it's milky white, and it has a light sparkle and a slightly thick texture. It's almost like a milkshake or horchata, but it's more funky and tangy thanks to the fermentation of the rice. That combination of creamy texture, sparkling fizz, and tangy flavor makes it both unique to drink and perfect for the summer.

Read more
Best Pit Boss Prime Day deals: Griddles, smokers, BBQ grills, more
The Pit Boss Navigator 5500 wood pellet grill cooks on a camping trip.

It's grilling time! At least, that's true if you have a grill. But if you need one, now's the time to shop! Prime Day deals galore mean you can get some sweet, sweet discounts on grills, flattops, and more. One of the more renowned brands in the grilling space is Pit Boss and you better believe there are some great Pit Boss Prime Day deals already available.  This trusted brand will help you cook for families that love barbecues and large gatherings that need a lot of food. There are a lot of Pit Boss Prime Day deals that are available, though, so if you need help deciding what to buy before the discounts expire, we've highlighted our favorite bargains below, as well as provided shopping advice on the Pit Boss grill deals that you should purchase for the shopping event.
Best Pit Boss grill Prime Day deal

Pit Boss Ultimate gas griddle --

Read more