TMKW: Homemade apple cider

Apple cider has one ingredient: apples. It doesn't get any easier (or nostalgically delicious) than that! Photo by Erica Miller
The flavor of the cider will vary depending on the variety of apples you use. Photo by Fran May

I love the last few sips of cloudy sediment from the bottom of the apple cider jug. To me, it signifies crisp fall days and a beautiful array of red, orange and yellow leaves scattered across my yard. The season wouldn’t be complete without it.

Every October and November, I stock my pantry and freezer with applesauce and apple butter. This year, after filling my freezer with apple sauce, I attempted to make dried apple rings. But after several unsuccessful attempts (my dehydrator is a piece of junk), I was left pondering several bushels of apples.

What could I do with them?

Of course! Apple cider!

Apple cider has one ingredient: apples. It doesn’t get any easier (or nostalgically delicious) than that!

To make apple cider, choose sweet or tart apples according to your taste. A mix is best. Use apples that you enjoy. The flavor of the cider will vary depending on the variety of apples you use. Try Fuji, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Rome, Yellow Delicious or a tarter apple like Jonathan.

You can preserve the cider by canning in a hot water bath or freezing it. Try both, see which one you like best.

Here’s the method:

Gather your apples, canning jars or freezer containers, pots and pans, and canning equipment (if canning). One bushel of apples will yield approximately 12 quarts of juice.

Core and quarter the apples. Then either run them through a juicer or place the apple quarters in a stock pot with a few inches of water. Cook until soft, and then place in a colander and press the apples until all the juice is out.

To can: Sterilize all your canning jars and start the hot water bath before starting on the apples. Heat the apple juice on the stove, add spices if desired and ladle the hot liquid into sterilized jars. Process 10 minutes (15 for high altitudes).

To freeze: Add spices to the apple juice if desired. Pour into freezer containers and freeze.

Don’t throw the leftover pulp away! It will make delicious applesauce. Throw it in the blender and purée.

From one bushel of small apples, I got 8 quarts of cider and 6 quarts of applesauce.

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