I know it has been forever since I have posted a blog. This whole baby thing has kept me busy. Fall is my favorite season though, and I have been busy in the kitchen lately with a bunch of apples and pumpkins. A couple weeks ago the Fam and I went to Apple Hill in Placerville, CA. We started this tradition just a couple years ago, but it is one that I love. I would like to say we drive 2 hours to California and pick apples at the orchards in order to have the freshest, most organic, and local apples at home for the rest of the season. I guess that is part of it, but really it is to gorge ourselves on apple cider doughnuts, apple fritters, and to drink local beer (well not this year for me) and apple cider. This year we took Luigi’s mom and grandma who just moved to Reno this past month (yay for more babysitters!). They moved from Denver where there is not a lot of apple growing. I think they were impressed with the amount of apples (and people), but not with our foliage. Don’t get me wrong, the drive through Tahoe in October is beautiful, but the Aspens in Colorado this time of year can’t be topped.
We did manage to bring a couple boxes of apples home with us from Apple Hill. The best varietals the weekend we were there were the Empires and the Winesaps. Both are delicious on their own, or good as baking apples. The first week I made a dutch apple pie and ate an apple with almost every meal. The second week we had pork chops with apples for dinner. The third week it was apple crisp. Finally I decided I need to do something drastic with the apples, and the easiest thing I could think of was apple cider. A good way to use a large amount of apples and still get all the flavor of the season. It can be drank hot or cold and is perfect on a night like tonight. And if I wasn’t pregnant it would definitely be kicked up with some added Tuaca. Happy Halloween!
6 lbs Apples – empires, winesap, or gala will work just fine
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 oz fresh ginger – grated OR 1 TBSP powdered ginger
freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/4 of the seed) OR 2 tsp powdered nutmeg
- Wash the apples in cool water. Cut the apples in quarters. You don’t need to peel the apples or core them.
- Place the apples in a large pot (at least 12 quarts). Fill with water until the water level is above the apples. About 2 gallons.
- Add all the spices and sugar to the pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Let the cider boil for an hour.
- After an hour turn the heat down and cover the pot. Let the cider simmer for another 2 hours.
- The apples at this point will be really soft and falling apart. Carefully pour the apples and cider over a large fine mesh strainer. Or line a colander with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and strain the apples from the juice. Mash the apples a little to extract all the liquid. One the liquid is strained, strain one more time through the strainer so the liquid will be nice and clear. At this point you can drink the cider hot, or let it cool down and refrigerate unit ready to drink. The cider should last a week in the fridge and can be reheated for cider.