Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homemade Apple Cider

Thanks To: The Pastry Affair

If you want to go the easy route, you can substitute the apples for 2 quarts apple juice, eliminate the water, and spice the juice as directed.

Yields about 2 quarts

17-18 medium-large apples
5 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 orange, not peeled, cut into slices
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups water

Core and slice the apples into a large dice. Do not peel. By not peeling the apples, we can retain some of the nutrition value (and fiber!) that is in the apple peel for the cider. This will result in a darker shade for the apple cider, but it will taste the same and have more nutrional value. I can't say no to that.

In a blender or food processor, add the diced apples and blend until the mixture is pulverized, resembling a thick paste. You will have to repeat this process several times.

Cover a large jar or bowl with a cheesecloth. You may need to secure the cheesecloth with a rubber band. Place the apple paste over the cheesecloth and allow the juice to drip out naturally. When the dripping has slowed, remove the rubber band, gather up the cheesecloth, and squeeze out the excess juice by hand. If you squeeze too hard, the apple paste will leak through the cheesecloth. Now is not the time to bring out the hulk hands.

Throw away (or, better yet, compost) the dried apple paste. Repeat this process until all the apples have been juiced.

In a large saucepan, combine the apple juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, orange slices, ginger, and water. Place on medium-high heat until the juice boils. Cover and turn the temperature down to low, simmering for 15 minutes.

Strain the juice and toss the spices. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick or orange slice to garnish!

Store the cider in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The cider can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

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