Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apple Cider

Oh Utah fall, how my Washington heart loves you! To many people, Utah has a great climate. It's hot in the summer and pretty much beautiful everyday if you want to plan ahead for a barbecue or an outdoor wedding. The winter produces fresh snow almost daily for all the skiers and snowboarders. It is the perfect weather for the person who loves to do outdoor activities.

However, I am not a person like that. I wouldn't say that I'm not "fun", but maybe I'm not the typical kind of fun that most people think of. I love sweats and books and cuddles with my little baby. And I love warm comfort foods and drinks. But I don't like to be restricted indoors either and I'm not a huge fan of snow. So this is why fall is my favorite.

It's cold enough that it brings people closer together to get cozy. It also allows you to reasonably wear sweats to keep warm as well as to hide that extra layer of winter chub. The leaves are changing and the rare desert rainy days are not so rare.

If Utah was fall all year round then I might love it as much as my Pacific Northwest home. Unfortunately, it doesn't last that long, so Utah fall will remain a seasonal dessert that I can look forward to while I cope with the other extreme temperatures.

So enough of my brain skimmings. Here's the point: I made homemade cider.

It was really easy! And the result was a house that smelled like an orchard and a quart sized jar of cider swirling with spices. Here's the recipe:

Apple Cider
(makes one quart)

6 apples (it is best to have a variety of sweet and tart)
1 orange (optional)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (less if you have an orange)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon, or two cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 pinch of nutmeg
enough water to cover

Slice apples and oranges and put them into a thick bottomed pot that has a lid. You don't have to worry about peeling or coring the fruit since you will be straining the mixture later. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and spices to the pot. Pour enough water to cover the fruit. The apples will float, so just remember where the water would have covered the fruit. You want to add enough water to maintain a good boil for an extended amount of time, but not so much that your cider turns out diluted.

Heat the mixture on the stove until it reaches a rolling boil. Allow it to boil for 30 minutes uncovered. Stir and mash the fruit as it becomes softer. Cover the pot and lower the temperature so it is a little more than a simmer. Stir and mash fruit occasionally and boil for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove from the heat and mash the fruit again. Strain through a cheesecloth, a handkerchief, or pantyhose. Taste and add more spices, sugar, or lemon juice as needed.



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