History of Cider in America.

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We the cider drinkers.

 

Cider is made from the fermented juice of apples. Known now as hard cider, so from here on when I say cider I mean hard cider not apple juice. Cider was first brought to America by the original English settlers. Nearly as soon as they landed in the new world they started planting apples. Finding only native crab apples also began grafting cider varieties. Cider production began in earnest.

New England climate was not as suitable for grains, and apples were much more successful. Cider became the poplar in early America. By the turn of the eighteenth century, New England was producing over 300,000 gallons of cider a year, and by mid-century, the average Massachusetts resident was consuming 35 gallons of cider a year. John Adams supposedly drank a tankard of cider every morning to settle his stomach.

Cider began its fall from grace was two fold. German immigrants introduction of beer making, and Prohibition. Government officials began chopping down cider orchards. After Prohibition was ended, annual grains like wheat and corn produced much faster than apple trees. Beer and whiskey became the popular drink. Days of the homestead cider was over. Cider apples were replaced with sweet consumption apples varieties replaced them.

Today cider has made a come back with the rise of micro brews. On my homestead I have recently made three gallons of cider using a easy to do method of making cider. Buy 100% natural apple juice from the store, pack of balloons, and a package of yeast. Give the juice a good shake to get the juice oxygenated. Open bottle pour a little out. Pitch the yeast. I use Lavain c-1118. One package has enough for 5 gallons. Put on balloon as a airlock, so no foreign bacteria and yeasts get in. Then wait. At first the cider will be cloudy. When balloon deflate and cider clears is should be ready. I moved mine into a large wine jug. The longer it sits in to the better it is (ages).

Here is a video how to.

 

 

Microgreens Another Winter Crop.

Microgreen are tiny leafy plants that are harvested at about two inches in height. They are not sprouts just young plants. Like sprouts the are easy and take up little space. Broccoli, radish, cabbage, and mustard green can be grown.

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Microgreens can be planted outside in mild climates all year. In colder regions, these seeds can grow outdoors, except during winter. Soil should be well amended with organic matter. Raised beds are a good idea to use when planting, especially in climates where soil slowly warms. Plant seeds in full sun with soil that is kept moist and well draining, fertilize lightly.

Indoors, microgreen plants should be placed in bright light. The container size should be wider than deep and filled with a loose planting medium such as vermiculite or perilite

In both situations, sow seeds approximately 1/8 inch deep and keep soil moist. For sequential harvesting, sow seeds every seven days.

Soon after sprouting, from 6 – 10 days old, plants can be harvested with a small cutter. Grab small clusters of the crop and cut just above the soil line. Some seed instructions suggest harvesting before the true leaves develop; follow specific seed packet instructions for each type of microgreen crop.

Here is a video on a microgreen business that is doing very well in a modified shipping container.

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Sprouts… Winter’s Crop.

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Be the best you.

Winter is rolling in. Nights are getting longer. Cold. Still have garden fever. Want fresh vegetables?  Try sprouting your vegetables. It’s easy, can be done indoors, and are very nutrient dense.

Why sprout. Sprouts can be grown anytime of the year, and requires little equipment. Mostly what we as homesteaders already have. Sprouting is also easy and fun. Fresh nutrient dense foods year round.

What is required. Quart mason jars, cheese cloth, rubber bands, and seeds. That’s it. Make sure all jars are clean and cleansed after each use. Molds and bacteria can build up in the jars if they are not properly cleansed. Which can make you sick. Use only growing seeds for sprouting. I use High Mowing Seeds for my seeds. They have a selection just for sprouting. These seeds have been tested to make sure no bacteria or mold are on the seeds. What I plan to try is the broccoli and salad mix. They can be found by clicking here.

The following video is from High Mowing Seeds on how to sprout.

Enjoy! Please comment and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.