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The cider harvest refers to the time when apples or pears specifically cultivated for cider production are harvested from orchards. The timing of the cider harvest is a critical factor in determining the quality of the resulting cider. Here are some key points about the cider harvest:


1. Timing: The timing of the cider harvest depends on various factors, including the apple or pear variety, geographical location, climate, and desired flavor profile. In general, cider apples and perry pears are harvested when they have reached their optimal maturity for cider production. This is typically later in the season compared to apples intended for fresh consumption.


2. Ripeness: Cider apples and perry pears are harvested at a specific stage of ripeness to ensure they possess the desired balance of sugars, acids, tannins, and other flavor compounds. The ideal ripeness may vary depending on the apple or pear variety and the desired cider style.


3. Handpicking: Traditionally, cider apples and perry pears are handpicked to ensure that only the ripest and highest-quality fruit is selected. This allows for careful selection and minimizes the risk of damage to the fruit.


4. Sorting and Grading: After harvest, the apples or pears are sorted and graded to remove any damaged or inferior fruit. This ensures that only the best-quality fruit is used for cider production.


5. Storage: Cider apples and perry pears are often stored in controlled conditions after harvest to maintain their freshness and quality until they are ready for pressing. Apples can be stored in cold storage facilities for an extended period, while pears are usually more delicate and may require shorter storage periods.


6. Harvest Festivals: In many cider-producing regions, the cider harvest is celebrated with harvest festivals and events. These festivals often include activities such as apple or pear picking, pressing demonstrations, cider tastings, and other cultural and community festivities.


The cider harvest is an important time for cider makers, as it sets the foundation for the quality and flavor of the cider they produce. The careful selection and timing of the harvest play a significant role in creating ciders with desirable characteristics and distinct regional or varietal flavors.

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