Sunday, October 6, 2013

Homemade Apple Cider

We went apple picking at a local orchard last week, and my kids were so enthusiastic and had such a great time that we came home with way more apples than I knew what to do with.  I've spent all week using them in various ways, such as apple pie filling, apple sauce, cranberry apple bread, and just sliced and dipped in caramel.  And then on Friday my littlest one asked for some apple cider.  We frequently have apple cider around this time of year but didn't have any at that moment, and so we decided to see how hard it was to make some.  Answer: easy!  It does take a few hours, but was easy and turned out great!  So if you have a bunch of apples that you don't know what to do with, or just love apple cider, this recipe will save the day!

As a note, if you live outside the US you may think this is an alcoholic drink.  In the US, apple cider is a thicker, spiced version of apple juice, similar to Wassail.  It is definitely not alcoholic. 

Homemade Apple Cider
Recipe slightly adapted from food.com

Ingredients:
8-10 medium to large apples
4 cinnamon sticks (or 4 Tbs ground cinnamon)
4 Tbs ground allspice
6 whole cloves
3/4 cup sugar (1 cup if you're using very tart apples like Granny Smith)

Quarter apples (no need to peel or core) and toss into a very large stock pot.  Add water to cover.  Add sugar and stir.  Tie up the spices into a doubled-up cheesecloth or a single-layered thin kitchen towel.  Add the spice sachet to the pot as well. 

Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Boil uncovered for 1 hour, watching and adjusting heat as needed so it doesn't boil over.  After one hour your apples will be soft and slightly mushy, like this:


Put the lid on and continue to simmer for 1-2 hours more, or until the apples begin to break up when you stir them.  Remove from heat.

You can let cool, or if you, like us, were feeling tortured smelling the deliciousness of the cider without being able to drink it for two hours, you can just work with it hot.

Place a large colander over a large bowl.  Remove the spice sachet from the pan.  Using a potato masher, mash the apples in the stock pot.  Once they're mashed, pour the whole thing into the colander.  Use a large spoon to gently push the apple mash to release all the juice.  Once it's mostly drained you can scoop the rest of the mash into another cheesecloth and squeeze it to get the rest of the juice out.  Discard the apple mash (or throw it in your compost heap!).  Pour the cider into a pitcher.  Place a fine-mesh sieve over the same bowl you were just using.  Pour the cider through the sieve to strain out the largish bits of apple mash.  Finally you have your completed apple cider!

You can serve this hot or refrigerate it and drink it cold.  It will keep in the fridge for a week, or you can bottle it or freeze it for later.

Makes about 1 gallon.

1 comment:

M said...

Sounds yummy!!