Today is a lazy day here at home. We all have things to do, but we're still laid back and not too worried about anything. But if you know me, then you know I just can't sit still. The last of the apples from the farmers' market were calling my name and I knew I would be making cider, so I got off the tukhus and just did it. Ever so slowly, the house filled with the smell of sweet apples, spicy cinnamon and love. Ahhh. Then, something amazing happened. The hubby came from out of the office and the son came from out of his bedroom, and both began doing things. The son stacked up more firewood for the evening. The hubby asked me several times, "Is there anything you need me to do?" And all of us were just a bit more... cheery. Happy to be... together. Hmm.
So would you like to make your home wake up and feel good too? Wanna make everyone more cheery and do nice things for you? Follow this recipe and watch it happen right before your very eyes.
About 10 large apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
This recipe makes one half gallon.
Quarter the apples and add them to a stockpot. Cover with water* by two inches. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the remaining ingredients and bring the pot to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer for 1 hour with the pot uncovered. Stir occasionally.
After the hour, taste the cider to see if it needs the additional 1/4 cup sugar. I do this because I can never tell which apples will sweeten the cider more than others. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 more hours, stirring occasionally.
Pass the cider through a sieve to catch the solid parts.
Keep them around for the next recipe. (I'll be making an apple loaf later.) Skin them once they cool down and refrigerate until you're ready to use them.
Use cheese cloth to filter the spices, which can be a bit gritty. I like to rinse the cloth with cold water, and fold it over several times. This seems to catch most everything. If you're using a mason jar like this, screw the cloth underneath a screw band and you're good to go.
If you doubled the batch, you may need to rinse the cheesecloth one more time. No problem.
Ah, the "feel good" drink. The color is amazing and the cinnamon and clove are a burst of flavor that works as a cold or warm drink. Cheers!
*Tip: Apples float! Hold the apples down while filling the pot with water.
Tip: By all means, use whatever spices appeal to you, but I would suggest adding cinnamon as the starting point... it just goes with apples, you know?
Tip: This recipe is easily canned as is. See the main canning page for details in water bath canning. Process pints and quarts for 5 minutes, 1/2 gallons for 10 minutes.