Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time-Out: Homemade Apple Cider

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Apple cider is a staple of fall in our house.  We often buy John's favorite brand and he drinks it while I pretend to like it.  I don't even know why apple cider doesn't really appeal to me.  I love hard apple cider, but apple cider from the food store, I could leave it there.  But, when I was looking up how to use up a lot of apples in creative ways, apple cider was a suggestion that kept cropping up.

Then I found tomorrow's recipe.  I'm not even going to stop myself from teasing you because it is just amazing.  But it calls for 1 1/2 cups of apple cider.  It was the perfect excuse to make my own, rather than use that mediocre store brand.  When I started looking around the Internet, I was shocked at how few recipes there actually were for homemade apple cider.  Not apple cider recipes using store bought apple cider and adding spices to it (is that even a real recipe?).  But, I wanted a real apple cider recipe using actual apples. 

Call me crazy but I think that's what a recipe is all about.  Luckily, I did find a recipe at food.com.  It was a great one to base my own off of.  You can see the actual recipe in that link above but you can find my adapted recipe (as always) below.  I canned a few cups of it because I think it will be a festive gift for someone special that I know!
Homemade Apple Cider (adapted from here)
Serves:  6 (6 cups)
10 apples (I used a mix of apples that we picked)
12 cups of water
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cardamom pod

Core the apples (I didn't even bother peeling them).  In a large pot add the apple slices (not cores), Top with 12 cups of water.  Add in cinnamon sticks and cardamom pod.  Push the apples down into the water (they will float).  Boil the mixture for 45 minutes on high heat, until the apples get mushy; you will have to continue pushing the apples down every few minutes so all the apples start to disintegrate at relatively the same time.  Then cover the pot and boil the mixture for about an hour.  Let the mixture cool for about an hour (or more in the fridge, if desired).  Remove the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pod.  Then, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, into a large bowl.  Do not force it.  Once all the liquid has been passed through the strainer, put the remaining solid mixture into a large cheesecloth.  Squeeze the remaining liquid out over the bowl.  Discard the solids.  The apple cider which is in the bowl should be put in an airtight container and stored up to 2 weeks in the fridge.  From what I've read, you can freeze it and it should defrost just fine up to 2 months later!

Obviously I made a few adaptations to the original recipe.  I didn't want to bother with a spice packet; and I didn't have allspice so cardamom was an easy substitution.  By coring the apples (the easiest way for us to cut them all), they floated, but they also disintegrated faster.  That led to a very strong apple taste without waiting 3 hours of cooking.  It has a great apple and cinnamon flavor.  I can't stop sipping it.

It also was a key centerpiece of the dish tomorrow, I can't wait to share it with you!

Until the next time my oven is on...

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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