Apple Cider is quite popular in the Northwest during the Fall season. But it is not quite Fall now, and I wanted to make a recipe recently that required apple cider. After scouring the grocery shelves and online sources I was astonished and frustrated. Not only was apple cider expensive, but full of sugar – lots! In a typical 8 ounce serving of a store brand apple cider blend, there are 120 calories and 29 grams of sugar!
So my quest then was turned to making my own apple cider for a healthier choice. And my apple trees are bursting with apples so I had a source right in my own backyard for making this cider. This version amounts to 90 calories and 19 grams of sugar per serving. Much lower in sugar and better in calorie count. Oh, and did I mention it makes the house smell wonderful while simmering away in the crockpot?
And please don’t ask me what happened to the recipe I was going to make that needed apple cider. That ship sailed out of my memory bank as I got involved in the making of the apple cider, maybe never to return. Oh well.
Cut up and ready to be cooked.
Fruit simmering away in the crockpot.
Strain chunks of fruit.
Oh so tasty!
- 5 medium apples (assorted variety), quartered
- 1 orange, quartered and peeled to make the cider less tart
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ teaspoons whole cloves
- Extra seasonings: (Optional)
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 whole nutmeg
- Water - enough to cover fruit when in the crockpot
- Combine all ingredients (except brown sugar) in a 6-quart crockpot. Cover with water, leaving about an inch or two of space at the top of the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook the ingredients on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the apples are completely soft.
- Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, take a minute to mash all of the apples and oranges against the side of the crockpot bowl to release more of their flavors. Then cover and let the cider simmer a bit longer.
- Use a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain out all of the solids (apples, oranges, spices), pressing them against the strainer to release all of their juices. Then discard the solids (or save for smoothies or another use). This will probably take about 5 minutes.
- Stir in your desired amount of sweetener, to taste.
- Serve warm. Also good served cold the next day.