Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Homemade Primal Apple Cider

You guys, let's talk apple cider. I've always loved the spicy sweet drink because it was a pretty surefire signal that fall was upon us. Growing up in Texas, that meant the weather cooled from a blistery 102 degrees to a balmy 85, which is why I tend to enjoy my apple cider chilled. However, thanks to Sandy's destructive path, it's really chilly here in D.C. so it feels entirely appropriate to enjoy apple cider piping warm with a cinnamon stick. Unfortunately, many of the beverages sold at farmer's markets and grocery stores have added refined sugar. Never one to be defeated by a culinary challenge, I decided to make my own apple cider (or closest at-home version to it) with nary a morsel of refined sugar.
The thing about cider that makes it different from apple juice (which, btw, is not how a good apple cider recipe starts...I found an embarrassing number of apple cider recipes that go something like "take apple juice, add cinnamon, serve.") is that the entire apple is used. We're talking skin, stems, seeds, that gross little nub at the bottom--they're all in there. I tossed in a chunk of ginger too because I had it and also because THERE ARE NO RULES!!!!
You let this whole Snow White nightmare boil for about an hour, or until the apples are nary more than mush that looks like a side dish at an old folks home.
Then, once it's cooled a bit, I gave the whole thing a good puree in my Vitamix and used my new nut milk bag (Yes, you have to have this for the recipe to work. A cheese cloth might work, but I haven't tried that, so I can't confirm.) to strain every single last bit of cider-y goodness out. The result? A delicious, fresh, spicy, sweet "primal" version of my favorite fall drink.
This was a fuckton of work, but I'd say it was well worth it. I'd probably say that because I'm currently enjoying a glass spiked with copious amounts of spiced rum, but that's just me!

What's your favorite fall drink? Do you prefer apple cider cold or hot??

Homemade Primal Apple Cider
Makes a pitcher full

  • 5-6 large apples
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (plus a few more for garnishing)
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. Truvia (or any sugar alternative you prefer, i.e., raw honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.)
  • many cups of water (to cover apples)
1. Quarter apples, leaving stems, seeds, skin, etc.
2. Toss apples with cinnamon sticks, ginger, and spices in a large pot. Fill pot with water until apples are completely submerged. (I filled the pot leaving about two inches of room from the top.)
3. Bring to a boil uncovered for about an hour, occasionally mashing the softened apples with the back of a wooden spoon.
4. After an hour, turn off heat and allow to cool for a while. Once the mixture is cooled, transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until the fruit has completely pureed. 
5. Pour juice mixture into a nut milk bag over a pitcher to allow to strain completely. This takes some time and elbow grease, but don't give up!
6. Serve warm (or cold if you like) and garnish with a cinnamon stick!

10 comments:

Lotus Blossom Design said...

yum I can smell it all the way over here! xo

when we wander said...

I'm obsessed with apple cider and have yet to find any in Italy. I'm going through withdrawal along with pumpkin spice. Gah.

www.whenwewander.blogspot.com

Jenna | The Paleo Project said...

Good job, James and I make spiked apple cider for all the family holidays, but we cheat immensely. By simply buying a giant jug of pre-made apple cider, a bunch of vanilla vodka, and some goldschlager, we're on our way Ho Ho Home for the holidays in no time. Just as the cavemen once did.

Kristina said...

Wow I am amazed you did this! I will just oogle at yours and sip my k-cup hot apple cider! I'm sure the homemade version tastes much better!

Ashley said...

Holy deliciousness, I love me some cider. This looks amazing. I need some... NOW!

Laura said...

This sounds amazing and I bet it smells divine! I may just have to try it!

--Laura
http://caffeinatedpinkaholic.blogspot.com

Gayla said...

Mmmmm...the rum garnish is a stroke of brilliance!

M. Flynn said...

Ohhh yes. Looks so delish.

Jamie said...

Snow White nightmare... hahaha

I never liked apple cider until I tried the stuff from Williams-Sonoma, but this recipe will make an appearance this holiday. My mom keeps hers hot in a crockpot and floats orange halves stabbed with 5 things of nutmeg in it.

Meg O. said...

I can just smell that right now. YUM.

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