Making homemade apple cider from scratch is a not only simple, it is a fun way to enjoy the season.
In my effort to ward off any and everything "pumpkin spice" flavored, today we are turning to other ways to celebrate the fall season. Heck, what is more quintessentially fall than apple cider? Apple cider is a great treat for the family, fun to prepare for a party, or can even be spiked to create a festive adult beverage.
Unfortunately, the biggest challenge to crafting homemade apple cider is getting your hands on the proper apples. Traditionally apple cider is made with cider apples, which you will not find at the store. Your best bet is to go apple picking and ask the orchard owners for recommendations on the best apples for cider. Alternatively, if you do purchase the apples from your local grocery store, buy a variety of different apples so they provide a balance of sweetness, tannins, and other flavors.
I also prefer to make my homemade apple cider with whole spices. If you use ground spices you won't be able to remove them from the cider. I wrap my spices in cheesecloth and let them steep in the liquid as it boils and simmers.
Since I use cheesecloth for holding spices, I also have it on hand to use it to extract additional juice from the apples when the cooking is complete. Most of your juice will separate out during straining, however, you can still squeeze out a few extra cups from the pulp with cheesecloth.
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Homemade Apple Cider
- 10 mix variety apples
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp allspice berries
- ½ tsp whole cloves
- 1 whole nutmeg
- Quarter the apples and add to a large pot. Pour in enough water to cover.
- Wrap seasonings in cheesecloth (optional, but makes it easier to remove) and place in the pot. Bring to a boil for 60 minutes.
- Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 2 hours, checking water level and adding more as needed.
- Turn off heat and let cool.
- Remove seasonings and use a potato masher to mash apples into a pulp.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a pot and pour pulp into strainer to separate juices.
- Working in batches, wrap remaining pulp in cheesecloth and squeeze to remove excess juice.
- Store apple cider in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
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