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LH 128: Making Hard Cider at Home

Fearless Brewing to Get Awesome Hard Cider Flavors

I’ve wanted to learn the art of making hard cider for a long time. But many of the books I found were overly complicated for a beginning home brewer.

I didn’t want to start with the complicated.

I wanted to learn the basic techniques so I could play with the flavors of the apples on our farmstead.


My prayers were answered in the new book Modern Cider by Emma Christensen.

I’ve been following Emma for years. She’s known in the foodie world for breaking down artisanal recipes into step-by-step DIY projects that are totally doable…and delicious. So OF COURSE I had to invite her onto the podcast. 

Emma teaches people how to make cider from every angle. She covers making cider with store bought juice or home pressed apples and she gives flavorful options that make our cider BETTER than the commercial brews.

In this episode, I bring on Emma to give us just the basic Hard Cider 101 info so that we can dive in with gusto.

The bottom line is that it’s super easy, very forgiving, and you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started!


You will learn:

  • Is hard cider making safe
  • What exactly is happening when we “brew” apple juice
  • Why there are 3 different types of apples needed for hard cider
  • What to do if we don’t have apples of our own
  • What happens if you use pasteurized vs raw apple juice
  • The basic equipment we should buy
  • Which yeast gives the best results
  • How to flavor your ciders with spices, oak or fruits
  • The steps involved in brewing at home

Emma Christensen:

Emma Christensen is a food writer and editor with over 10 years of experience creating food and cooking content for online and print publication. She is the managing editor for Simply Recipes and a former editor for The Kitchn.

Emma is also the author of three books on homebrewing, True BrewsBrew Better Beer, and Modern Cider, and she collaborated on the James Beard award-winning The Kitchn Cookbook.

Emma is a graduate of The Cambridge School for Culinary Arts and Bryn Mawr College. She lives in San Jose, California. Find more of her work on fermented beverages at The Bold Brewer.


Want Emma’s Basic Hard Cider Recipe?

Emma has graciously shared the recipe she walked us through in the episode. You can download and print it by clicking the button below:

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Resources & Links Mentioned:

Emma Christensen Media – Emma’s website

Modern Cider * – Emma’s book

True Brews * – Emma’s book

Brew Better Beer * – Emma’s book

Northern Brewer – one source for equipment



Click here for the full transcript for Episode #128

*denotes an affiliate link

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.