'Tis the season for pumpkins, apples, root vegetables and holiday-spiced treats. Nothing rings in the fall season like a cup of hot apple cider. But not any apple cider. Homemade cider.
Apples are an amazing fruit. Originating in the Tien Shen mountains, and have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years. The sweet fruit of life, was part of the Garden of Eden and spiritually, is a big part of mankind.
The apple is an important part of America's growth. Apples were cultivated in Jamestown for the settlers who came abroad in 1607. They brought seeds from Europe and many varieties grew in the New World.
Interestingly, the cultivation of apples in the world (mainly bitter) were used to create cider.
According to history.com, "Cider had become a popular beverage in England in the wake of the Norman conquest in 1066, after which new apple varieties were introduced from France. The New World settlers brought their taste for cider with them. Most colonists grew their own apples, and due to sanitation concerns, they often served a fermented cider at meals instead of water, including a diluted cider for the children. Cider became so popular that it was sometimes used to pay salaries, and Virginian statesman William Fitzhugh once remarked that the cider produced from his orchard of 2,500 trees was more valuable than 15,000 pounds of tobacco."
Ironically, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, cultivated the Fuji apple in the USA. According to history.com, "And he helped bring the popular Fuji apple to the United States, albeit unwittingly. As the story goes, Edmund Charles Genet, French minister to the United States in the 1790s, gave Thomas Jefferson a gift of apple cuttings that Jefferson donated to a Virginia nursery, which then cultivated a variety of apple known as the “Ralls Genet.” In 1939, Japanese apple breeders crossed the genes from the classic Red Delicious apple variety with that of Jefferson’s Ralls Genet, resulting in the now ubiquitous Fuji apple."
How interesting that many things in taste are like a slice of tasty American apple pie.
This recipe can be made two ways. I find the juiced version to be the easiest method. You can always use apple juice, but the freshly juiced apples taste the best.
Homemade Slow Cooker Apple Cider - Two Ways!
Equipment: Large crockpot
Method One - Pre Juiced Version:
9 cups freshly juiced apples (about 6 lbs. of large gala w/ my juicer) or use bottled apple juice
1 orange, sliced
5 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
Slice the orange and juice the apples. Place all the ingredients into the crockpot. Take one of the orange slices and squeeze it into the crock pot. Place the crockpot on the six-hour timer. The cider should be tasty enough to turn off between 4-5 hours. OR for a deeper spiced-flavor, cook on the 10-hour setting for 10 hours.
Method Two - Whole Fruit version
*This method takes longer and requires a cheese cloth to strain the apple juice.
12 lg. Gala apples (5 lbs.) (or intermix fuji and gala)
1 orange, sliced
1 nutmeg whole
1 tbsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp all spice, grounded
1/4 cup cane sugar
optional: 1 cup of apple juice
Chop the apples and slice the orange. Place everything except the sugar in the crockpot. Fill the crock pot with water close to the top of the apples. DO NOT cover the apples entirely. Place the crockpot on for 8 hours. At 5 hours, mash or puree the apples. This will enhance the apple flavor. Here, I also removed the cloves. I also poured 1 cup of apple juice in to enhance the flavor. At 6.5 hours, if the mixture tastes tart, and the cane sugar. Around 7-8 hours the cider should be done.
You can strain the juice into a pitcher with a colander. To get more juice, place the pulp, in batches, into the cheesecloth and squeeze "dry."
Have you made homemade apple cider? If so, how do you make it?
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Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com