Going apple picking this fall? Unfortunately, living on the gulf coast means I can’t bring bushels of apples home from the farm, so pick a few for me. We aren’t huge applesauce or apple butter fans, so if I could bring home dozens of cheap apples, this is what I would make. Homemade apple cider is a fun project and a great way to use up all of those little, imperfect apples you get from pick-yourself farms or in huge bags at the grocery store during this time of year. It is incredibly easy with almost no prep work: just simmer your apples with your favorite cider spices, then strain and serve hot and steaming. You can make this cider as sweet, tart or spicy as you’d like which is why I like it. I will admit my favorite cider comes from cider beetles, but this is a close second and a fun project nonetheless. The kids wash the apples, I give them a rough chop then they throw everything in a pot and fill it with water. They love it and we sit around the table before bedtime, sipping from warm mugs, and talking about all of the fun we are going to have in the coming weeks.
Old Fashioned Apple Ciderprep 5 min, cook time 3 hours
- 12 or so small-medium apples, assorted types
- 1 small orange
- 1/2-1 cup brown sugar
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- water to cover
- Wash and roughly chop apples and orange-do not worry about removing peels, seeds, or stems. Toss into a large stock pot.
- Add sugar (I start with 1/2 cup, you can always add more later).
- Add spices, and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and boil uncovered for at least an hour.
- Cover and reduce to a simmer. Allow juice to simmer for at least two hours.
- Uncover and use a potato masher to roughly mash content of pot. To further reduce: continue simmering until cider is dark and tastes sweet and spicy.
- When cider is ready allow to cool then strain apple pieces and whole spices into a clean pitcher or pot. If you feel like it you can strain everything through a cheesecloth and twist and squeeze to get every last drop.
- Serve hot. Store in the fridge and reheat as desired. I usually get about a 1/2 gallon.