CIDER, or Cyder (from the Fr. cidre, derived from the Lat. sicera or cisera, Gr. veicepa, Heb. shekar, strong drink), an alcoholic beverage made from apples.
Cider and perry (the corresponding beverage made from pears) are liquors containing from as little as 2% of alcohol to 7 or 8%, seldom more, and rarely as much, produced by the vinous fermentation of the expressed juice of apples and pears; but cider and perry of prime quality can only be obtained from vintage fruit, that is, apples and pears grown for the purpose and unsuited for the most part for table use. A few table apples make good cider, but the best perry is only to be procured from pears too harsh and astringent for consumption in any other form. The making of perry is in England confined, in the main, to the counties of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester. These three counties, together with Somerset and Devon, constitute, too, the principal cider-making district of the country; but the industry, which was once more widely spread, still survives in Norfolk, and has lately been revived in Kent, though, in both these counties, much of the fruit used in cider-making is imported from the west country and some from the continent. Speaking generally, the cider of Herefordshire is distinguished for its lightness and briskness, that of Somerset for its strength, and that of Devonshire for its lusciousness.
Cider used to be made in the south of Ireland, but the industry had almost become extinct until revived by the Department of Agriculture, which in 1904 erected a cider-making plant at Drogheda, Co. Louth, gave assistance to private firms at Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, and Fermoy, Co. Cork, and provided a travelling mill and press to work in the South Riding of Co. Tipperary. The results have been highly satisfactory, a large quantity of good cider having been produced.
Inasmuch as English orchards are crowded with innumerable varieties of cider apples, many of them worthless, a committee composed of members of the Herefordshire Fruit-Growers’ Association and of the Fruit and Chrysanthemum Society was appointed in 1899 to make a selection of vintage apples and pears best suited to Herefordshire and the districts adjoining. The following is the list drawn up by the committee: Apples. – Old Foxwhelp, Cherry Pearmain, Cowarne Red, Dymock Red, Eggleton Styre, Kingston Black or Black Taunton, Skyrme’s Kernel, Spreading Redstreak, Carrion apple, Cherry Norman, Cummy Norman, Royal Wilding, Handsome Norman, Strawberry Norman, White Bache or Norman, Broad-leaved Norman, Argile Grise, Bramtot, De Boutville, Frequin Audievre, Medaille d’Or, the last five being French sorts introduced from Normandy about 1880, and now established in the orchards of Herefordshire.
Source: Online version of the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittannica
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