There are a number of different specific tastes that come to mind for me personally when I am thinking about the autumn season. The biggest two that instantly jump out are pumpkin and apple. Whether you are looking for a delicious pie or the perfect warm drink on a cool, windy day – these two will never fail you! With the weather finally transitioning into the typical autumn days I was on the search for just that, the perfect warm drink when I decided that it was time to try my hand at making my own homemade apple cider.
There are SO many different recipes out there, I was almost overwhelmed when I first googled to find a starting point. Taking a few deep breaths, I dove in, reading through each method, approach and suggestion. From there I took a few different recipes and combined them, tweaking measurements and trying some of my own trial batches to get just the taste I was aiming for.
I will take a moment to warn you now that everyone’s taste for apple cider is different. Personally, I feel that most apple ciders I have purchased are far too sweet, I like a slightly tangier taste – like the natural tang from the apple. If you like your apple cider sweet you may want to prepare to add more sugar than this recipe calls for…
The final result was loved enough by my husband and I enough that I have another batch on the go as I’m typing this. Plus, as a bonus, it makes your house smell amazing!
What You Need:
- 9 medium-sized apples (the types of apples you choose will change up the flavour so don’t be afraid to experiment and mix various varieties of apples)
- 1 orange
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 12 cups water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer
Wash the apples and orange. This is important as you will be putting them into your cider skin and all at the start of the process, so you want to ensure that the skins have been thoroughly cleaned. Cut each roughly into quarters and place them into your crockpot. Don’t concern yourself with seeds, stems, etc. You will be straining this out in the end, so that will all be removed.
Add your cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and cloves. Pour the water over everything ensuring that it is all properly covered. You do have the option at this point to adjust the water depending on the size of your crockpot. The 12-cup measurement was perfect for mine, however, most recipes called for anywhere from 10-16 cups of water so this is flexible. When I added the water, it filled the crockpot up leaving approximately ½ inch of space at the top.
Cover the crockpot and turn it on low heat for 6-8 hours. If you are in a hurry you can speed this process along by turning it on high for 3-4 hours. I prefer to let it slowly simmer pulling as much flavour out of the ingredients as possible, but I do know that the temptation can be high!
Approximately 1 hour before the end of your cooking time mash up the apples and orange slices using a spoon, fork or potato masher. This will release even more flavour into your cider. Cover and allow it to finish cooking.
Strain your cider through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer into a clean pitcher or pot. Press the mixture while it is in the cheesecloth or strainer to remove as much of the juice from the mashed-up fruit. Stir the brown sugar into the freshly strained cider and serve hot.
If you have excess cider left over it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days in a heat-safe sealed container. Simply reheat the cider when it is time to enjoy it!
I also read some interesting variations for the brown sugar such as cane sugar, maple syrup and coconut sugar. Changing this up will give you some more flexibility with the taste. I think I am going to try out the maple syrup option as the sweetener in my next batch!
Do you enjoy apple cider? Do you prefer your cider sweet or tangy?