LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Data gathered from exhaustive scientific research has contributed to some of the world’s most amazing achievements. And now, it’s helping create the best recipes for hard cider.
Researchers at Michigan State University and MSU extension specialists have compiled data on more than 800 apple varieties to develop a taste chart for cider makers that will help them better craft their recipes.
The chart organizes the apple varieties based on the four quality traits that are most desirable for hard cider production: sweetness, acidity, pH and bitterness (total phenolic content).
“We have put together the largest database of fruit quality traits for apples that are important to both growers and researchers,” said Joshua VanderWeide, an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Berry Crops Physiology Laboratory.
Michigan has emerged as a leader in the nationwide hard cider industry, and is home to the second most hard cider producers in the United States.
According to a 2017 economic impact study by the Grape & Wine Industry Council, Michigan cideries produced 630,000 gallons of hard cider, and the state hard cider industry was responsible for $164 million in total economic impact.
“This information didn’t exist in one place,” said Steve van Nocker, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the leader of the team that developed the hard cider apple variety grid. “There was a real opportunity to support apple growers and cider makers here in Michigan.”