When I was seven years old until I as ten, my foster parents lived on a farm, were actually share croppers and ran a small “fruit Stand” along hwy 101 between Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, California. They sold a lot of Apple Cider in that stand.
Living there I learned how wonderful having a cider press was. I loved ice cold apple cider. In those days, I’m not sure if it was ice cold that often unless I was helping in the road side stand. What I do remember is going into the fields and gathering up the apples and coming back so we could press them and make fresh cider.
Is there anything better on a warm day in early fall than a glass of fresh pressed apple cider? This popular, all-American beverage is surprisingly easy to make at home when you’re blessed with an overabundance of fresh apples. Now days it can be made in the kitchen without the press. I still prefer cold pressed apple cider but if you do not have access to a press, you can still make some at home.
Here’s how to make fresh apple cider in your kitchen at home. Grab about ten to twelve apples, wash them, and cut them into quarters. Put them into a large stockpot and add enough water to cover them with several inches of water on top. Add a scant cup of sugar, one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, one tablespoon of ground allspice, and a pinch of salt. The sugar amount is an estimate. Use more if you’re using very tart apples, less for sweeter varieties. You can also adjust the amount of sugar as you cook your cider.
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, uncovered for 45 minutes. Turn it to a simmer, cover, and allow your cider to cook for another two hours. Allow the mixture to cool slightly to make it safer to handle. Gently pour it through a strainer to remove the big apple chunks. Strain it again through a cheese cloth to remove the remaining solids. The end result is your apple cider.
From here you have a couple of different options. You can cool it in the fridge and serve it as fresh, cold apple cider. Be sure to use it up over the course of a few days, before potentially harmful bacteria can develop.
The other option, which is the one I prefer to make for my guests is as follows. While the cider is still warm, you can turn it into mulled cider. Pour the finished apple cider into a saucepan with additional cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves to taste and simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour it into mugs and add a slice of orange. This is the perfect hot drink on a cold fall or early winter day. It is a nice treat for those days between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the frost is in the air.
Last but not least, let’s talk about hard apple cider. This is a fermented version of the fresh apple cider that produces a mildly alcoholic beverage. The process is similar to making beer. It’s something you can do at home, but you should read up on the exact procedures before you give it a try. You want to make sure you end up with a fermented beverage that’s tasty and more importantly safe for human consumption.
Fresh or fermented, making apple cider at home is a lot of fun and something you should try this fall. If you’re really adventurous and patient, you can even make your very own apple cider vinegar, but that’s for another article. Note however, This is not a low carb drink and must be avoided if you are living a low carb lifestyle.
I don’t drink it any longer for that very reason but wanted to share with this with friends that don’t watch their carbs. I am able to offer apple cider to friends when they visit without being tempted because I keep other drinks available that I can enjoy such as kombucha, which I will write about next. Or you can try Switchel, which you can learn more about Here
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