Sorry, not sorry for the title. We love a good pun around here. In this post, we're talking all things apple cider. Keep reading to learn how to make your own and get some seasonal recipes that highlight this autumnal fave.
First thing's first: what's the difference between apple cider and apple juice? Well, according to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, “Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment …. Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer.” In other words, apple cider can be turned into apple juice by filtering it and further removing the bits that make it opaque. But, since most of us don't have the necessary equipment to filter our liquids, we're going to focus on apple cider. It contains very few ingredients and only needs about 10 minutes of active work time.
To make your own cider, you'll need 10 of your favorite apples, sweetener, and water. That's all you need for a basic apple cider. However, there are a million ways for you to customize and elevate your cider based on you personal preferences. You can mix and match different varieties of apple or stick to just one. It's completely up to you and your taste buds. The Baked by Jazz Signature Apple Cider uses a blend of four varieties to create a sweet flavor that just hints at the tartness of some of the apples we use. We also add an orange and some seasonal spices (like cinnamon and nutmeg) to compliment the apple flavor. If you're going to add spices, it's best to use them whole instead of ground, but if you only have ground spices, tie them tightly in a double- or triple-layered piece of cheesecloth. This will keep the tiny grounds from escaping into your cider and giving it a grainy texture. As for the sweetener, you can use whatever form of sugar you'd like. We've seen recipes that use white granulated sugar, honey, agave, and even maple syrup. We use brown sugar to add another layer of the Autumn season to our blend.
Once you've gathered your ingredients, quarter your apples (and orange if you're using). Add fruit, spices (optional), and sweetener to a LARGE pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once water reaches a boil, cover your pot, reduce the heat, and simmer ingredients for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, remove the orange and mash the apples with a potato masher. If you don't have a masher, don't worry. The apples will be soft enough for you to use a wooden spoon for this task. Return the pot to the heat and simmer, uncovered, for one more hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Press on the solids with a wooden spoon to extract all of the juices. Discard the solids. Serve apple cider warm, or allow to cool completely before chilling.
SEE!! Way easier than you were expecting, right? So, now that you've made your cider, you may be looking for something to do with it besides drink it. Well, there are A TON of recipes out there that showcase apple cider. Up here, in the Northeast regions, we're big fans of apple cider donuts. Pretty much every orchard has its own donut recipe that brings people in droves to taste their pastries. They come fried or baked, covered in sugar or glazed, and regular or mini-sized. At Baked by Jazz, we fry our apple cider donuts and toss them in an apple pie spice sugar. Now, while we're not giving out our recipe, we are going to supply you with links to 2 great recipes we've used in the past. These aren't sponsored links, just good recipes that are worth sharing. The first is for a baked cider donut from NY Times. If you enjoy making cakes or cupcakes, you shouldn't have any problem with these. The next link is for a fried cider donut by Damn Delicious. We know that frying foods can be pretty intimidating for some, but this donut recipe could be a good place to start.
There are tons of other foods and beverages that can be made with apple cider. Check out the list below for some of our favorites. Again, these aren't sponsored links, just great recipes that deserve to be highlighted.
We love apple cider, and are completely serious about its consumption. We could discuss it for hours, but we know that you all have better things to do. So, we'll end this post here. We hope you've gotten some new ideas and are inspired to use your apple cider to make something delicious!