Homemade Apple Cider
I have done it. I have used up all the apples from my apple picking adventures. It took me a while and I’m honestly so surprised they stayed fresh as long as they did, but they are now all gone! I might be appled out for a while too, but it was worth it to bake with them. And I’m pleased to share the latest apple recipe for your fall desires—Homemade Apple Cider!
Apple cider is probably the most fall drink there is. It can be enjoyed warm or chilled and is so homey and comforting. Apple cider is pretty easy to make too. It just takes a lot of patience. The best part about this though is all you need is a slow cooker. A slow cooker is a top appliance that every person needs in their kitchen. A slow cooker is perfect especially if you’re working during the day and come home exhausted and don’t want to prep dinner. Trust me I know the struggle. But with a slow cooker, just plop everything in and let it sit—when you come home you have a delicious meal that is ready for nomming.
I recommend finding a slow cooker that has a timer setting that will switch to warm or off when it’s done. That way you don’t have to worry about coming home in time to turn it off. I recommend the Hamilton Beach 6 qt. programmable slow cooker. It’s affordable, has a lid that locks and handles that are great for transporting, a meat thermometer, and the timer feature that will switch your food to warm once it’s done—perfect for weeknight meals and lazy cooking.
I’m also ecstatic about this recipe because it was my first recipe where I used my mom’s fancy DSLR to take the pictures. I’m still learning how to edit them to look crisp and professional and plan to take a photography class soon which should help a lot, but the quality from the camera versus my iPhone is astounding. Even raw photos are astonishingly better. Since I’m still a newbie to the food blogging realm, I try to draw inspiration on how to plate photos from other bloggers. I’m still working on plating and presentation, but with time I will be plating like a pro. Just you wait.
So now let me tell you about this apple cider. It only requires a few ingredients: apples, orange juice, sugar, spices, and water. That’s it! I adapted this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally’s Baking Addiction is a great baking blog! I follow her on Instagram and I love seeing all her cookie recipes—I just want to eat all of them.
The only tedious thing about this recipe is slicing all the apples, but once that’s done you just throw it in the slow cooker and make cider magic. Your house will smell incredible. If you live in an apartment building (like me) I guarantee your neighbors will be jealous. Who needs scented candles when you can just make apple cider? They honestly cost the same and fall scented candles can be overly sweet. Take Pumpkin Crème Brûlée for example, it’s just nauseatingly sweet to me, but everyone has their own taste in scents.
Homemade anything is a million times better than store bought and it’s sometimes difficult to get to those lovely orchards and buy some of their fantastic apple cider. But doesn’t this sound like an easier alternative?
Homemade Apple Cider
Servings: About 1 and ½ Quarts
1 orange, peeled or ½ cup orange juice
10 medium apples, rinsed and cut into quarters
3 cinnamon sticks (or 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon)
2 teaspoons ground cloves
¼ cup granulated sugar
Add the peeled orange (or orange juice), the apples, the cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and sugar to the slow cooker. Add water to cover the fruit.
Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours or high heat for 3 hours.
The fruit will be very soft now. Use a large wooden spoon to gently mash the fruit and release the juices. Cook the cider for 1 more hour on low heat.
Very slowly strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl/pot/pitcher. You can discard of the fruit and solids. Strain the cider a second time to remove any additional solids left behind. Enjoy the cider warm or chilled.
Leftover cider can be stored in the fridge for 5-7 days. The cider can also be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator completely before serving.
Apple variety - don’t be afraid to mix things up. I used Honeycrisp, Gala, and Empire apples. Using a variety of apples like tart Granny Smith can amplify the flavor profile of the cider.
Orange - I used an unpeeled orange which made the cider slightly bitter. I recommend peeling the orange or using orange juice. It will still add a bright citrus note to the cider without the bitterness.
Sugar - you can also modify the sugar amounts if you’d rather not drink your sugar. A few tablespoons are just enough, but you can add ½ cup if you want your cider to be a bit sweeter.
Pro-tip - add a splash of bourbon to spike your cider for that extra warm fuzzy feeling.
Equipment – if you don’t have a slow cooker you can use a large stock pot instead. In step 2, heat everything in the stock pot over high heat and bring to a simmer stirring occasionally. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 2 hours. Continue with step 3 and cook for 1 more hour. Continue with the recipe from step 4.