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11 Very Important Things to Know About Cider

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By Erika Janik

Forget the juice; we're talking about the hard stuff. Here are 11 facts everyone should know about good old-fashioned apple cider.

1. Back in the 14th century, it is believed that kids were baptized in cider since it was often more sanitary than water.

2. An apple beverage a day? President John Adams drank a tankard of cider every morning because he believed it promoted good health. And it must have—Adams lived to 90, making him our third longest living president, behind Ford & Reagan.

3. Cider was so important to early Americans that one in every ten farms in New England operated its own cider mill by the time of the American Revolution.

4. But why didn't the drink stay popular over the years? The Temperance movement killed the business. Fired up by speeches from ministers and politicians, many farmers destroyed their "demon orchards," sparing only the trees used for sweet juice. During the years when Prohibition was enacted, American cider production in the fell by 76%.

5. The best cider apples seem to have the best names: Hangdown, Chibble's Wilding, Kentish Fill-Basket, and Glory of the West.

6. If you want to make great cider, be sure to practice your wassailing. The English custom, used to appease the deities of the apple trees, was believed necessary to ensure healthy crops. Here's how to honor the spirits: Place a jug of cider or piece of cider-soaked toast on the biggest apple tree. Then sing a chant or song. Finish by banging on kettles and blowing horns to scare away any evil spirits lingering in your orchard. It's that easy.

7. Also, you'll need lots of apples. It takes about 36 pieces of fruit to make one gallon of the good stuff.

8. When Caesar and his invading soldiers stormed through England in 55 BCE, they found Celts sipping a brew made from crab apples. The troops were quick to pick up the habit and take it back to Rome.

9. Other fruits can be used to make cider-like drinks, too. Perry comes from fermented pear juice, cyser is cider fermented with honey, and plum jerkum—made from plums—supposedly has some strange intoxicating effects. According to legend, it leaves "the head clear, while paralyzing the legs."

10. Looking for the proper way to care for a dead genius' brain? For more than 40 years, Einstein's cranium was stored in a box labeled Costa Cider. Actually, it was stored in two mason jars in the Cider box, under pathologist Thomas Harvey's sink.

11. Of course, if this moderately alcoholic beverage doesn't do it for you, it's possible to make hard ciders even harder. Apple brandy and applejack are distilled ciders, and applejack, in particular, is really potent. It's nicknamed the "essence of lockjaw."

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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iStock

After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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