Three Fantastic Apple Cider Recipes
Apple cider recipes from simple to complex...
There are plenty of ways to use and enjoy fresh apple cider. A quick search on the Internet will result in hundreds of apple cider recipes, including hot mulled cider, apple butter, apple cider stew, and more. I have tried many of them, and made my own changes and modifications, creating some that my family always enjoys every fall.
Apples are in abundance in the fall, and apple cider is readily available!
Mulled Apple Cider Recipe
Mulled cider is very quick and easy to make. It is the perfect hot drink for on chilly fall days and nights, and also very refreshing when drunk cold or with some brandy in it! To make a mulled cider recipe, you simply simmer apple cider with various spices. You can use an array of spices or just a few, depending upon your tastes, and spices can include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, orange zest, and others.
One mulled apple cider recipe I really enjoy starts with a 1/2 gallon of apple cider. Heat the cider in a large saucepan, and then add 3-5 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of whole cloves, and a teaspoon of nutmeg. Cover the saucepan and allow the cider to simmer with the spices. Remove the cover and allow a light simmer for about 1/2 an hour.
For some variety and a different yet exciting fall flavor, try adding a handful of blackberries. After letting the blackberries simmer for about 15 minutes, you can crush them against the sides of the saucepan. Other ingredients you can try adding include orange zest, cardamom, or brown sugar. And some brandy, rum, or red wine will go nicely as well for adults to enjoy.
Lastly, use a mesh sieve to drain the mulled cider and remove the spices, and then serve! You can add a cinnamon stick for garnish.
Hot Mulled Cider Sangria
A great fall recipe for get-togethers and Halloween parties, this hot mulled cider sangria recipe is sure to please! It makes a lot, so you can scale down the ingredients if you need to for smaller gatherings.
Using a large saucepan or stew pot, combine the following ingredients:
- 1 gallon apple cider
- 1bottle dry red wine
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 7-8 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- either 1 cup of rum or brandy, if desired
Heat over a low flame until just simmering. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, and then it is ready to serve. You can also add fresh apple slices or garnish the glass with a cinnamon stick or thinly sliced apple wedge.
Harvest Apple Cider Stew
This apple cider recipe is for a hearty harvest stew, perfect for the fall. It is a little more involved than the others but definitely worth it.
- 2 pounds stew beef (beef cut into chunks or cubes for stewing)
- 2 parsnips or carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 red apples, cored and sliced into wedges
- 2 cups of apple cider
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 medium-sized onions, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 14 -ounce can of beef broth
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: If you want the stew to be fairly traditional, also add 2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and sliced into bite-sized chunks. However, to really get into the fall harvest season with this apple cider recipe, use a few baby pumpkins instead. Simply slice off the top, clean out the seeds and pulp, and cut the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces. It is not necessary to peel the pumpkin but you can if you desire.
Season the beef with salt and pepper and coat with flour. In a tablespoon of olive oil, brown the beef using a dutch oven or large stew pot .
Add the the cider, vinegar, broth, and onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 75 minutes.
Add the parsnips, and the pumpkins or potatoes. Bring to boil again, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add the apple slices and simmer 5-10 minutes.
Makes approximately 8-10 servings. A great way to present the stew is to serve it in carved out and cleaned miniature pumpkins!
The Difference Between Apple Cider and Apple Juice
Although they are both similar, the difference between apple cider and apple juice is the treatment or filtration which is needed that changes the properties of the drink. Cider comes from raw apple juice which still retains sediment and coarse particles of pulp from the juice. To make a gallon of cider, almost one third of the bushel needs to be harvested.
To start the process of making cider, the apples must first be collected, washed and cut into slices before being mashed into a lumpy consistency, such as applesauce. Then the mashed up apples are laid out in cloth and set upon wooden racks. A large hydraulically operated press squeezes the layers of mashed apple and the juice then seeps through the cloth and into a refrigerated tank. Once the juice is collected, it is then called apple cider.
The difference between apple cider and apple juice is that the latter is filtered to remove any large particles of pulp and then pasteurized in order to enhance the shelf life. More filtering goes on and the juice is then vacuum sealed to allow it to be fresher for longer.
Additionally, the difference between apple cider and apple juice is the flavor that comes from the different types of apples used in the blending process. The manufacturers of apple cider spend a long time mixing different flavors of apples to give a good blend of tartness and sweetness to the drink. Cider then needs to be refrigerated constantly as it will perish if not. The shelf life of unfermented cider will last around two weeks, keeping its sweetness. Cider can even be frozen as long as the container has around 2 inches of space to allow for expansion.