Apple Cider Season!

I've never canned anything in my life, but we went apple picking last weekend and it was so much fun, we started exploring what we could do with lots and lots of apples. We decided to try our hands at making cider- I've been craving it for a month now and couldn't find any of the real stuff at the store, so it seemed perfect.

Today, we went out to our favorite local orchard and ended up picking 32 pounds of sweet, crisp apples- and it only cost us $18! We got a mixture of red delicious, Ida reds and another sweet, tangy variety we couldn't identify. Add those to our honeycrisps from last weekend, and we've got a great mix to play with!

According to several recipes I found online, all it takes is a big pot with about 4 inches of water in the bottom and cored and cut up apples, put on to boil until they're soft. I think we're going to add some spices to make the cider a little more seasonal and festive- maybe cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Then, once the apples are cooked, they are put through a colander to remove any big chunks and filtered (if desired) into jars. Seems simple enough...

Well, what appeared to be a relatively simple project actually turned out to take a few hours. I decided to start with 25 apples, just to get an idea for how much cider I'd get. 

After the apples were all cored and cut up, they filled my big pot about half way. They smelled amazing while they were cooking, especially after the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves were added. 

The apples cooked for about an hour, which I've come to believe is too long. I ended up with apple mush, and it proved to be challenging to sift through the colander. I got about a gallon of cider from my 25 apples... and about half that amount of yummy-looking apple sauce! 

Next time, I'll be sure to have my canning supplies ready to go. As I said earlier, I've never canned a thing in my life, and I was really unprepared for what had to be done as soon as the cider was ready. 

All in all, I think our attempt at creating apple cider from scratch was successful. The pretty jars of pink beverage we ended up with will make great gifts for our families this Thanksgiving season! 


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