One of America’s Favorites – Chimichanga

August 14, 2017 at 5:05 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A chimichanga with rice

Chimichanga (/tʃɪmiˈtʃæŋɡə/; Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃaŋɡa]) is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex, Southwestern U.S. cuisine, and also found in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, machaca (dried meat), carne adobada (marinated meat), carne seca, or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and/or cheese.

 

Debate over the origins of the chimichanga is ongoing:

The words chimi and changa come from two Mexican Spanish terms: chamuscado, (past participle of the verb chamuscar which means seared or singed, and changa, related to chinga, (third-person present tense form of the vulgar verb chingar, a rude expression for the unexpected or a small insult.

According to one source, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant El Charro, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep-fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish profanity beginning “chi…” (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig”.

Woody Johnson, founder of Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen, claims he invented the chimichanga in 1946 when he put some burritos into a deep fryer as an experiment at his original restaurant Woody’s El Nido. These “fried burritos” became so popular that by 1952, when Woody’s El Nido became Macayo’s, the chimichanga was one of the restaurant’s main menu items. Johnson opened Macayo’s in 1952.

Although no official records indicate when the dish first appeared, retired University of Arizona folklorist Jim

A chimichanga with refried beans and rice

Griffith recalls seeing chimichangas at the Yaqui Old Pascua Village in Tucson in the mid-1950s.

Given the variant chivichanga, mainly employed in Mexico, another derivation would have it that immigrants to the United States brought the dish with them, mainly through Nogales into Arizona. A third, and perhaps most likely possibility, is that the chimichanga, or chivichanga, has long been a part of local cuisine of the Pimería Alta of Arizona and Sonora, with its early range extending southward into Sinaloa. In Sinaloa, the chimichangas are small.

Knowledge and appreciation of the dish spread slowly outward from the Tucson area, with popularity elsewhere accelerating in recent decades. Though the chimichanga is now found as part of the Tex-Mex repertoire, its roots within the U.S. seem to be in Pima County, Arizona.

According to data presented by the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical 183-gram (6.5-ounce) serving of a beef and cheese chimichanga contains 443 calories, 20 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams total fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 51 milligrams cholesterol, and 957 milligrams of sodium.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Stromboli

August 7, 2017 at 5:36 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Homemade Stromboli

Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various cheeses (typically mozzarella) and cold cuts (typically Italian meats such as salami, capocollo and bresaola) or vegetables. The dough used is either Italian bread dough or pizza dough.

Stromboli was invented in the United States in the 1950s. It was named after the Italian film Stromboli.

A stromboli is somewhat similar to a calzone. A calzone is a baked turnover stuffed with pizza ingredients. A stromboli is usually made by rolling up dough that has been topped with pizza ingredients and then baking it. A calzone is crescent-shaped, and a stromboli is usually shaped like a long cylinder. The distinction between the two is complicated by the fact that there is some variation in what constitutes a stromboli.

 

Many American pizza shops serve a stromboli using pizza dough that is folded in half with fillings, similar to a half-moon-shaped calzone. At other establishments, a stromboli is made with a square-shaped pizza dough that can be topped with any pizza toppings and is then rolled into a cylindrical jelly roll shape and baked. Other variations include adding pizza sauce or deep-frying, similar to panzerotti.

One of America’s Favorites – White Hot

July 31, 2017 at 5:48 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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White Hot

The white hot is a variation on the hot dog found primarily in the Rochester, New York area, as well as other parts of Western New York and Central New York. It is composed of a combination of uncured and unsmoked pork, beef, and veal; the lack of smoking or curing allows the meat to retain a naturally white color. White hots usually contain mustard and other spices, and often include a dairy component such as nonfat dry milk.

 

 

 

The white hot, also commonly referred to as a coney, originated in the 1920s in Rochester’s German community as a “white and porky”. It was originally a cheaper alternative to high-price red hot dogs, made of the less desirable meat parts and various fillers; in contrast, modern versions are made from quality meats and are generally sold at higher prices than common hot dogs.

One of the best-known producers of the white hot is Zweigle’s. Although they were not the first to make white hots, they were the first to secure a contract at the Red Wing Stadium soon after Zweigle’s founder Robert Berl began making the dogs in 1925. The white hot has become the official hot dog of the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Rochester Americans and Rochester Rhinos and was the official hot dog of the Washington Nationals during the major league baseball team’s first season.

Another producer, Hofmann, produces white hots in the Syracuse, New York area under the name “Snappy Grillers”. A third company, Hartmann, is also known to produce white hots.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Natchitoches Meat Pie

July 24, 2017 at 5:40 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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The Natchitoches meat pie is a regional dish from northern Louisiana, United States. It is one of the official state foods of Louisiana.

Ingredients include ground beef, ground pork, onions, peppers, garlic, oil, and a pie shell. Natchitoches meat pies are often fried in peanut oil because of that oil’s high smoking temperature. A number of restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve meat pies, and frozen pies are available from grocers in northern Louisiana.

It has a savory meat filling in a crescent-shaped, flaky wheat pastry turnover. It is similar to a Spanish picadillo beef empanada. Varieties are found throughout the colonies of the Spanish Empire. The Natchitoches meat pie is nearly identical to the traditional ground beef empanada of Argentina, Empanada de Carne.

 

Natchitoches meat pie with New Orleans beans and rice

The meat pie is found all throughout Louisiana, including southern Louisiana which tends to have a spicier version compared to its northern counterpart, but its origins are found to be from Northern Louisiana. Although found in Greater New Orleans today, The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book published in 1901 by The Times Picayune of New Orleans does not contain a recipe for a Natchitoches style meat pie in its list of over a thousand recipes. Natchitoches meat pies are found in other parts of Southern Louisiana as well as sold at food booths at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and seems to have spread south from Northern Louisiana.

The use of wheat flour as an ingredient is significant. Corn is grown locally. It is a staple of both Spanish and Native American food. Wheat is difficult to grow in this wet, warm climate. Mexican wheat flour could have been imported initially by annual supply convoy over El Camino Real de los Tejas (a portion later became The Old San Antonio Road) or sourced from Europe via the French port on the Red River at Natchitoches.

In the modern recipe, ground pork or pork sausage is blended into the ground beef for additional flavor. Onions, bell pepper and when used garlic and parsley provide aromatics. Ground black pepper and cayenne pepper are added to get attention without being uncomfortable. Flour is added to the browned meat and vegetable mixture to dry, thicken and loosely bind the filling. The meat filling can be used in other foods (e.g., tacos, tamales, enchiladas, stuffed bell pepper et al) but the wheat turnover crust is a defining element. The traditional size is approximately 4 ounces (by weight) on a 5″-6″ diameter pastry dough. The filling should be made the day before to allow the flavors of the ingredients to meld. Filling, dough and tools should be chilled before assembly. Warm filling will cause the dough to disintegrate.

 

In the first part of the 20th century, meat pies were sold from home kitchens or from carts by street vendors. By 1967, Natchitoches meat pies were produced in commercial kitchens. Now, they may be ordered online.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting aired a program January 20, 2007, describing how to make Natchitoches meat pies. It is available on DVD entitled “A Taste of Louisiana with Chef John Folse & Company: Our Food Heritage – The Spanish Shows”. An annual Meat Pie Festival, held in September, celebrates the Natchitoches meat pie. It includes pie making demonstrations, a meat pie cook-off, live music and more.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pig Pickin’

July 17, 2017 at 4:53 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A pig pickin’ (also known as rolling a pig, pig pull, pig roast or, among the Cajun, “cochon de lait”) is a type of party or gathering held primarily in the American South which involves the barbecuing of a whole hog (the castrated male pig or barrow, bred for consumption at about 12 weeks old). Females, or gilts, are used as well. Boars (full-grown intact males) and sows generally are too large.

Many Southern families have a pig roast for Thanksgiving or Christmas, graduations, weddings, or summer gatherings. Some communities hold cook-offs during festivals, where cooks compete against one another for prize money.

 

A pig, often around 80–120 pounds dressed weight, is split in half and spread onto a large charcoal or propane grill. Some practitioners use a separate stove filled with hardwood to produce coals which are then transferred under the charcoal grill by shovel; others use charcoal with chunks of either blackjack oak, hickory wood or some other hardwood added for flavor. The style of these grills are as varied as the methods of producing them, some being homemade while others are custom-made.

There is a long-running debate among barbecue enthusiasts over the merits of different fuels. Propane is said to maintain a consistent temperature, whereas charcoal or charwood are often touted as producing better-tasting meat.

The cooking process is communal and usually directed by an authority figure; the host is helped by friends or family. It usually takes four to eight hours to cook the pig completely; the pig is often started “meat-side” down, and then is flipped one time once the hog has stopped dripping rendered fat. Some practitioners clean ashes from the skin with paper towels or a small whisk broom before flipping the hog to help produce high quality cracklings from the skin.

Often the hog is basted while cooking, though the method and sauce used differs according to region. For instance, a typical South Carolina Piedmont-area baste would be a mustard based sauce, an Eastern North Carolina baste is usually a very light vinegar based sauce with red pepper flakes, and Western North Carolina barbecue uses sauce with a ketchup base similar to traditional barbecue sauce.

When the cooking is complete, the meat should ideally be tender to the point of falling off of the bone. The meat is then either chopped or pulled into traditional Carolina-style pork barbecue, or it is picked off the hog itself by the guests. It is from the latter that the gathering gains its name. The barbecue is sometimes eaten with hushpuppies (fried cornmeal, occasionally flavored with onions), coleslaw, baked beans or sometimes Brunswick stew. In South Carolina, it is common to serve pilaf or hash as a side dish. Hash is a blend of leftover pork mixed with barbecue sauce and usually served over rice.

Sweet tea, beer, and soft drinks are often served.

 

The pig pickin’ is a significant part of the culture of the South; the necessary work and time needed to cook the hog makes it ideal for church gatherings (“dinner on the grounds”) or family reunions, and they can be held virtually year-round thanks to the region’s mild winters. Pig pickin’s are popular amongst the most devoted tailgaters at college football games across the South. The pig pickin’ has been long associated with politics; many local political parties and politicians still use the pig pickin’ to attract people to meetings and campaign rallies.[citation needed] In 1983, Rufus Edmisten, running for Governor of North Carolina at the time, was overheard saying “I’ve eaten enough barbecue. I am not going to eat any more. I’m taking my stand and that is it.”

Culturally and culinarily different from traditional Deep South pig pickin’ events, pig roasts are a common occurrence in Cuba, as well as the non-mainland American state of Hawaii, with roasts being done in the traditions of those places.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Bear Claws

July 10, 2017 at 5:32 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Bear claw

A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry, similar to a Danish, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s. A bear claw is usually filled with almond paste, and sometimes raisins, and often shaped in a semicircle with slices along the curved edge, or rectangular with partial slices along one side. As the dough rises, the sections separate, evoking the shape of a bear’s toes.

A bear claw may also be a yeast doughnut in a shape similar to that of the pastry. Such doughnuts may have an apple pie-style filling, or other fillings such as butter pecan, dates, cream cheese, grape or cherry. Bear claw may also refer to an apple fritter.

The name bear claw as used for a pastry is first attested in 1936. The phrase is more common in Western American English, and is included in the U.S. Regional Dialect Survey Results, Question #87, “Do you use the term ‘bear claw’ for a kind of pastry?”

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Milk Toast

July 3, 2017 at 5:04 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Simple milk toast consisting of toasted buttermilk bread covered in white sauce with a dash of cinnamon

Milk toast is a breakfast food consisting of toasted bread in warm milk, typically with sugar and butter. Salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, cocoa, raisins and other ingredients may be added. In the New England region of the US, milk toast refers to toast that has been dipped in a milk-based white sauce. Milk toast was a popular food throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially for young children and for the convalescent, for whom the food was thought to be soothing and easy to digest. Although not as popular in the 2000s, milk toast is still considered a comfort food.

 

 

 

The food writer M. F. K. Fisher (1908–1992) called milk toast a “warm, mild, soothing thing, full of innocent strength”, and wrote, of eating milk toast in a famed restaurant with a convalescent friend, that the food was “a small modern miracle of gastronomy”. She notes that her homeliest kitchen manuals even list it under Feeding The Sick or Invalid Recipes, arguing that milk toast was “an instinctive palliative, something like boiled water”. Fisher also notes that for true comfort, a ritual may be necessary, and for Milk Toast people, the dish used may be foolishly important. Her favorite version of milk toast has the milk mixed 50/50 with Campbell’s condensed cream of tomato soup in a wide-lipped pitcher called a boccalino in Italian Switzerland where she got it.

 

Milk toast prepared with condensed milk

In the Southwestern United States
In New Mexican cuisine, milk toast is referred to as leche cocida, meaning cooked milk. Toasted bread is torn into chunks and placed in a bowl. Milk is cooked with a small amount of butter, salt and pepper and is poured over the bread. It is a meal associated with using up excess milk, perhaps from the days of milk man service, in this region.

 

 

 

Milk toast’s soft blandness served as inspiration for the name of the timid and ineffectual comic strip character Caspar Milquetoast, drawn by H. T. Webster from 1924 to 1952. Thus, the term “milquetoast” entered the language as the label for a timid, shrinking, apologetic person. Milk toast also appeared in Disney’s Follow Me Boys as an undesirable breakfast for the aging main character Lem Siddons.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cioppino

June 26, 2017 at 5:43 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cioppino

Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco, California. It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.

 

 

 

 

 

Cioppino with bread

Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in San Francisco is typically a combinati on of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish all sourced from salt-water ocean; in this case the Pacific. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce.

The dish can be served with toasted bread, either local sourdough or French bread. In the dish, the bread is as a starch, similar to a pasta. It is freely dipped into the ample quantity of sauce. The bread then absorbs, holds, and modulates the flavorful yet slender (watery) sauce; that is to be freely “sopped up” by the heavy, full bodied breads. The bread’s consumption, after dipping into the sauce, prolongs the flavors on the palate when eating the dish.

 

 

 

Cioppino was developed in the late 1800s primarily by Italian immigrants who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, many from the port city of Genoa. When a fisherman came back empty handed, they would walk around with a pot to the other fishermen asking them to chip in whatever they could. What ever ended up in the pot became their Cioppino. The fishermen that chipped in expected the same treatment if they came back empty handed in the future. It later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco.

The name comes from ciuppin which is the name of a classic soup from the Italian region Liguria, similar in flavor to cioppino but with less tomato and using Mediterranean seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart.

The dish also shares its origin with other regional Italian variations of seafood stew similar to ciuppin, including cacciucco from Tuscany, brodetto di pesce from Abruzzo, and others. Similar dishes can be found in coastal regions throughout the Mediterranean, from Portugal to Greece. Examples of these include suquet de peix from Catalan-speaking regions and bouillabaisse from Provence.

 

Cioppino classique

Generally the seafood is cooked in broth and served in the shell, including the crab, which is often served halved or quartered. It therefore requires special utensils, typically a crab fork and cracker. Depending on the restaurant, it may be accompanied by a bib to prevent food stains on clothing, a damp napkin, and a second bowl for the shells. A variation, commonly called “lazy man’s cioppino,” is served with shells pre-cracked or removed.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Danish Pastry

June 19, 2017 at 5:34 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A typical Spandauer-type Danish with apple filling and glazing

A Danish pastry or just Danish (especially in American English) is a multilayered, laminated sweet pastry in the viennoiserie tradition. The concept was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers and has since developed into a Danish specialty. Like other viennoiserie pastries, such as croissants, they are a variant of puff pastry made of laminated yeast-leavened doughs, creating a layered texture.

Danish pastries were exported with immigrants to the United States, and are today popular around the world.

 

Danish pastry is made of yeast-leavened dough of wheat flour, milk, eggs, sugar and large amounts of butter or margarine.

A yeast dough is rolled out thinly, covered with thin slices of butter between the layers of dough, and then the dough is folded and rolled several times, creating 27 layers. If necessary, the dough is chilled between foldings to ease handling. The process of rolling, buttering, folding and chilling is repeated multiple times to create a multilayered dough that becomes airy and crispy on the outside, but also rich and buttery.

Butter is the traditional fat used in Danish pastry, but in industrial production, less expensive fats are often used, such as hydrogenated sunflower oil (known as “pastry fat” in the UK).

 

In Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, the term for Danish pastry is wienerbrød/wienerbröd, “Viennese bread”. The same etymology is also the origin of the Finnish viineri. Danish pastry is referred to as facturas in some Spanish speaking countries. In Vienna, the Danish pastry, referring to Copenhagen, is called Kopenhagener Plunder or Dänischer Plunder.

 

The origin of the Danish pastry is often ascribed to a strike amongst bakery workers in Denmark in 1850. The strike forced bakery owners to hire workers from abroad, among them several Austrian bakers, who brought along new baking traditions and pastry recipes. The Austrian pastry of Plundergebäck soon became popular in Denmark and after the labour disputes ended, Danish bakers adopted the Austrian recipes, adjusting them to their own liking and traditions by increasing the amount of egg and fat for example. This development resulted in what is now known as the Danish pastry.

One of the baking techniques and traditions that the Austrian bakers brought with them was the Viennese lamination technique. Due to such novelties the Danes called the pastry technique “wienerbrød” and, as mentioned above, that name is still in use in Northern Europe today. At that time, almost all baked goods in Denmark were given exotic names.

 

A cinnamon Danish with chocolate

Danish pastries as consumed in Denmark have different shapes and names. Some are topped with chocolate, pearl sugar, glacé icing and/or slivered nuts and they may be stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as jam or preserves (usually apple or prune), remonce, marzipan and/or custard. Shapes are numerous, including circles with filling in the middle (known in Denmark as “Spandauers”), figure-eights, spirals (known as snails), and the pretzel-like kringles.

 

 

In Sweden, Danish pastry is typically made in the Spandauer-style, often with vanilla custard.

In the UK, various ingredients such as jam, custard, apricots, cherries, raisins, flaked almonds, pecans or caramelized toffee are placed on or within sections of divided dough, which is then baked. Cardamom is often added to increase the aromatic sense of sweetness.

In the US, Danishes are typically given a topping of fruit or sweet baker’s cheese prior to baking. Danishes with nuts on them are also popular there and in Sweden, where chocolate spritzing and powdered sugar are also often added.

In Argentina, they are usually filled with dulce de leche or dulce de membrillo.

 

A slice of an American apple crumb Danish

Danish pastry was brought to the United States by Danish immigrants. Lauritz C. Klitteng of Læsø popularized “Danish pastry” in the US around 1915–1920. According to Klitteng, he made Danish pastry for the wedding of President Woodrow Wilson in December 1915. Klitteng toured the world to promote his product and was featured in such 1920s periodicals as the National Baker, the Bakers’ Helper, and the Bakers’ Weekly. Klitteng briefly had his own Danish Culinary Studio at 146 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Herman Gertner owned a chain of New York City restaurants and had brought Klitteng to New York to sell Danish pastry. Gertner’s obituary appeared in the January 23, 1962 New York Times:

“At one point during his career Mr. Gertner befriended a Danish baker who convinced him that Danish pastry might be well received in New York. Mr. Gertner began serving the pastry in his restaurant and it immediately was a success.”

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Apple Cider

June 12, 2017 at 5:27 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Apple cider (left) is an unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice. Most present-day apple cider is pasteurized, as apple juice (right) is.

Apple cider (also called sweet cider or soft cider) is the name used in the United States and parts of Canada for an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. Though typically referred to simply as “cider” in those areas, it is not to be confused with the alcoholic beverage known as cider throughout most of the world, called hard cider (or just cider) in North America.

Once widely pressed at farmsteads and local mills, apple cider is now easy and inexpensive to make. It is typically opaque due to fine apple particles in suspension and generally tangier than conventional filtered apple juice, depending on the apples used. Today, most cider is treated to kill bacteria and extend its shelf life, but untreated cider can still be found. In either form, apple cider is a seasonally produced drink of limited shelf-life that is typically available only in autumn. It is traditionally served on the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and various New Year’s Eve holidays, sometimes heated and mulled. It is the official state beverage of New Hampshire.

 

Although the term cider is used for the fermented alcoholic drink in most of the world, it refers to fresh “apple cider” in the United States and much of Canada; hard cider is used there instead for the alcoholic drink.

While some states specify a difference between apple juice and cider, the distinction is not well established across the U.S. Massachusetts makes an attempt to at least differentiate fresh cider and processed apple juice: according to its Department of Agricultural Resources, “apple juice and apple cider are both fruit beverages made from apples, but there is a difference between the two. Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. Vacuum sealing and additional filtering extend the shelf life of the juice.” This still leaves unfiltered apple juice that is no longer raw in a gray area, presumably cider but not labeled as such. The addition of sweeteners or reconstitution from concentrate are left even grayer.

Canada recognizes unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice as cider, fresh or not.

 

Historically all cider was left in its natural state, unprocessed. In time, airborne yeasts present on apple skins or cider making machinery would start fermentation in the finished cider. Left on its own, alcohol would develop and forestall growth of harmful bacteria. When modern refrigeration emerged, cider and other fruit juices could be kept cold for long periods of time, retarding fermentation. Any interruption of the refrigeration, however, could invite bacterial contamination to grow. Outbreaks of illness resulted in government regulation requiring virtually all commercially produced cider to be treated either with heat or radiation.

As a result, natural raw cider is a specialty seasonal beverage, produced on-site at orchards and small rural mills in apple growing areas and sold there, at farmers markets, and some juice bars. Such traditional cider is typically made from a mixture of several different apples to give a balanced taste. Frequently blends of heirloom varieties such as Winesap, once among the most sought-after cider apples for its tangy flavor, are used. The US government requires that unpasteurized cider and juice have a warning label on the bottle.

Even with refrigeration, raw cider will begin to become slightly carbonated within a week or so and eventually become hard cider as the fermentation process continues. Some producers use this fermentation to make hard cider; others carry it to acetification to create artisanal apple cider vinegar.

 

Cidering in a contemporary rural area mill. Custom batches pressed directly to bulk containers on demand.

Virtually all commercially produced cider is treated for bacterial contamination, which also extends its shelf life; the most common method used is pasteurization, but UV irradiation is also employed.

Pasteurization, which partially cooks the juice, results in some change of the sweetness, body and flavor of the cider; irradiation has less noticeable effects.

Impetus for Federal level regulation began with outbreaks E. coli O157:H7 from unpasteurized apple cider and other illnesses caused by contaminated fruit juices in the late 1990s. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made proposals in 1998; Canada began to explore regulation in 2000.

The U.S. regulations were finalized in 2001, with the FDA issuing a rule requiring that virtually all juice producers follow Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) controls, using either heat pasteurization, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), or other proven methods to achieve a “5 log” reduction in pathogens.

Canada, however, relies on a voluntary Code of Practice for manufacturers, voluntary labelling of juice/cider as “Unpasteurized”, and an education campaign to inform consumers about the possible health risks associated with the consumption of unpasteurized juice products.

 

Modern cider making has come a long way from early forms of production that involved a man- or horse-powered crusher. These consisted of a stone or wood trough with a heavy circulating wheel to crush the fruit, and a large manual screw press to express the juice from the pulp. Straw was commonly used to contain the pulp during pressing, later replaced by coarse cloth. As technology advanced, rotary drum “scratters” came into use. Today, nearly all small pressing operations use atomic-hydraulic equipment with press cloths and plastic racks in what is commonly called a “rack and cloth press”, and atomic hammermill “breakers”.

Depending on the varieties of apples and using the optimal extraction methods, it takes about one third of a bushel (10 liters) to make a gallon (3.78 liters) of cider. Apples are washed, cut, and ground into a mash that has the consistency of coarse applesauce. Layers of this mash are then either wrapped in cloth and placed upon wooden or plastic racks where a hydraulic press then squeezes the layers together, or the mash is distributed onto a continuous belt filter press, which squeezes the pulp between two permeable belts fed between a succession of rollers that press the juice out of the pulp in a continuous, highly efficient operation. The resulting juice is then stored in refrigerated tanks, pasteurized to kill bacteria and extend shelf life, and bottled and sold as apple cider. The juice may also be fermented to produce hard cider, which then may be further treated by exposure to acetobacter to produce apple cider vinegar, or distilled to produce apple brandy. The waste left after pressing, known as pomace, is sold for cattle feed.

 

Hot mulled cider

Hot mulled cider – similar to “Wassail” – is a popular autumn and winter beverage. Cider is heated to a temperature just below boiling, with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, cloves, or other spices added.

Authentic “sparkling cider” is a naturally carbonated beverage made from unfiltered apple cider. “Sparkling apple juice”, often confused with it and sometimes even labeled as “sparkling cider”, as does the popular Martinelli’s brand, is filtered, pasteurized, and mechanically carbonated and thus not true cider.

Rosé apple cider can be obtained using red-fleshed applecrabs.

“Cider doughnuts” traditionally used the yeast in raw cider as a leavener. Today they are sometimes sold at cider mills and roadside stands, though there is no assurance natural cider is used. Visiting apple orchards in the fall for cider, doughnuts, and self-picked apples is a large segment in agritourism.

 

 

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