The History and Virtues of Cyder
R. K. French
Roger French grew up in Coventry, England and had a distinguished academic career specializing in the history of medicine. In 1966 he married a Herefordshire girl, bought a cyder-mill cottage and proceeded to make and drink a great deal of cyder. This book combines French’s skills as a historian and his experience as a cyder maker. His concern that an undistinguished mass market beverage – which he calls cider – has replaced the historically revered beverage cyder. He digs deep into English history describing the origins of English Cyder and follows the history from its pre-historic origins to the modern era. From his understanding of the making of cyder and cyder apples his provides a good description of the role of cyder in society, how it was made and how it probably tasted. Nearly half the book covers French’s cyder making experiences, where he describes where to locate your orchard, the kind of soil you need and the variety of apples you will want to plant. He then takes the cyder maker from collecting and processing the apples through the process of pressing, fermentation, and packaging. He finishes up this section describing common faults and their solution. French shares what to do with cyder after it is made in the third part of the book. He describes different cyder based drinks, herbs and spices and other additions to cyder, cooking with cider and cooking with apples. This book was originally published in 1982 and its author was a distinguished academic medical historian. The writing style is a little archaic and it is a little academic but the book bursts with information on British cyder found no where else.