Thanksgiving Cider

Image credit: Bon Appetit

Thanksgiving is here! Enjoy the warmth of family, friends, and apple cider. A Powers of Ten recipe is below:

8 – 10 apples
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, as of 2010, worldwide apple production reached over 69 million metric tons (10+07), or 10+10 kilograms.  Out of the top 15 (10+01) producing countries, China came in first, with over 33 million metric tons, while Japan came in last, with roughly 800,000 metric tons (10+05) or 10+08 kilograms.

1/2 – 1 cup sugar
Sugarcane, a perennial grass of the humid tropics, requires at least 1,000 millimeters [10-04 meters] of annual rainfall. With the advent of irrigation, however, the plant can also be grown in dry climates.

The Cambridge World History of Food explains that “The first evidence of crystal sugar production appears at about 500 B.C. [10+04 years ago] in Sanskrit texts that indicate it took place in northern India. They describe in rather vague terms the making of several types of sugar for which the principal use seems to have been medicinal.  Knowledge of this technique spread from northern India eastward to China (along with the cultivation of sugarcane) westward into Persia, eventually reaching the east coast of the Mediterranean about A.D. 600.”

4 tablespoons cinnamon (or 4 cinnamon sticks)
Cinnamon sticks come from the dried bark of evergreen trees.  The exhibit Spices at UCLA’s Biomedical Library explains that the original name for the spice came from “the Malay word, ‘kayumanis,’ meaning sweet wood. The Hebrew equivalent was ‘qinnämön,’ and this is the source of the word cinnamon. The word canella was used by the Italians to describe [the] ‘little cannon tubes’ that the rolled up quills of bark resembled. The cinnamon (or cassia) trade was controlled by Venice in the 13th and 14th centuries [10+02 years ago] and resulted in the city becoming very wealthy.”

WebMD also offers these facts about cinnamon:

  • In ancient Egypt, it was used as an embalming agent.
  • In Roman times, cinnamon had an extremely high value–it was up to 15 times more costly than silver.
  • After killing his second wife, Roman Emperor Nero showed his remorse by having a year’s supply of cinnamon burned at her funeral. (Nero did not bestow this special honer upon his first wife, his mother or his step-brother, whom he also killed.)
  • Preliminary research indicates that the the spice has anti-microbial properties, (microbes are roughly 10-16 inches long), and that having a teaspoon of a day, mixed with food, can reduce blood sugar levels. (The diameter of each glucose molecule is roughly 10-09 meters.)

4 tablespoons allspice
Christopher Columbus first encountered allspice in Jamaica during his second voyage to the New World (10+02 years ago).  Allspice is not made from a mixture of spices, but rather from the dried fruit of the pimenta dioica tree.  Allspice production has varied in recent years, peaking in 2008 at 1,948 (10+04) metric tons or 10+06 kilograms.

1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
Amadeus Vanilla Bean explains that this cured dried fruit “…is the most labor intensive of all agricultural products. It is the second most expensive spice in the world, next to saffron.” One pound of whole vanilla pods can cost anywhere from $50 – $200 (10+01 – 10+02). “The entire process of vanilla cultivation, pollination and harvesting is done by hand, without using machinery, chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Vanilla workers, usually women and children who are quick with their hands, pollinate from 1,000 to 2,000 vanilla orchid flowers per day [or 10+05 each year].”

Now, with your ingredients for apple cider ready, just click here to learn how to prepare it. Happy Thanksgiving!

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 2, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing what cider was used for. I think Ancient Egypt is an amazing culture. They were ahead for their time.

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