This past weekend Texas was hit with an ice storm that left us all forced to enjoy a vacation-at-home with our families. There was a strong need for hot drinks amidst the freezing and I undertook the task of making apple cider from scratch because we didn’t have the necessities for the ‘easy kind’.
So, I called upon the spirit of Laura Ingalls and found a delicious recipe from Gimme some oven to go off of that was surprisingly easy and positively delicious! http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/homemade-apple-cider/ Feel free to adjust this recipe by what you already have on hand.
First, cut up as many apples as you have. Put all the pieces in the pot, seeds, skins, and all. I had eight very large apples that I cut into eighths along with two large oranges. You could put in even more oranges if you would like; they add a lovely smooth flavor.
Other ingredients: (adjust as needed) 1/2-1 cup of brown sugar, 4 whole cinnamon sticks, 1 whole nutmeg or a teaspoon of powdered nutmeg, 1 TBSP whole cloves or 2 teaspoons of ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon of whole allspice.
Then, put all this in your pot and cover with water or fill the pot (at least) two inches from the top. Don’t be afraid to add too much water, the fruit definitely has plenty of flavor!
Next, bring to a boil and let boil until all the fruit is soft.
Once the fruit is soft take a potato masher, or if your pot is too deep to use that without plunging your hands into the boiling mixture (the handle to my potato masher was very short), you can use a spoon to mash the fruit against the sides of the pot, provided the fruit is soft enough.
More than one recipe was telling me to take out the apples after cooking them and mash them up in another bowl but that seemed like a ridiculous waste of that lovely sugary, fruity, water that I had so successfully concocted. Thankfully Gimme Some Oven’s method included the apple water.
After making your liquidy apple sauce, separate the pulp from the juice using a cheesecloth. I didn’t have a cheesecloth and mine turned out quite pulpy and thick. The flavor was still delicious but I would recommend straining it.
Lastly, pour yourself a cup of cider and drink it. (Force your friends to drink it too, you deserve recognition for this undertaking!) I found that it was so much easier to identify the flavors of something when you know, and chose, what is in it. I could smell and taste the citrusy orange flavor and the different spices that complimented the apples and brown sugar with a whole new appreciation! Apple cider was never better!
Best of Luck!