Take A Shine To Homemade Apple Cider

Raise a glass to the colorful autumn season! What you put in that glass is up to you, but it's the perfect time of year to toast with apple cider you make at home. The best part: You don't need an apple press to make this seasonal beverage!

Slicing apples for apple cider

It's easier than you think to make your own apple cider, and it's a great family activity for a chilly fall day. Besides, how many apple pies can you eat?

Enjoy the "forbidden" fruit

Since apples are readily available at this time of year and it's the perfect weather for an excursion to a local farm, consider picking your own for a big dose of family fun! If you don't have access to a spot where you can harvest your own apples, check your local farmers market or grocery store. Organic apples have been found to have a better taste, and something else to consider when deciding on organic: this year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization focused on public health, ranked apples at the top of the "dirty dozen" list as the most chemically-contaminated produce, which may influence your choice.

Take your pick

The type of apples you use for your cider is simply a matter of taste. The more tart the apple, like Granny Smith for example, the more tart your cider. Sweeter apples include Red Delicious, Fuji and Gala among others. The more tart variety includes Granny Smith and Macintosh apples. You can also mix and match until your heart's content!

You'll need about 36 apples to make one gallon of cider, along with seasonings of your choice, like cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.

Apple ciderEquipment needed:

  • Food processor or blender
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Apple corer (if you have it, but it's not necessary)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large pan
  • Large container to store your cider

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash your apples, whether they're organic or not.
  2. Core your apples. If you don't have an apple corer, simply slice them in half and cut away the core area.
  3. Cut the apples into small pieces (leaving the peels intact) and add them to your blender or processor. Blend the apples to produce the finest pulp possible.
  4. Place the cheesecloth over a large pan and add the apples to the cheesecloth. Wring and squeeze the pulp in the cheesecloth over the pan so the juice goes into the pan.
  5. When you get to the amount of juice you want, add your seasonings to taste.
If you end up with any cider left over, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you like your cider hot, warm it up! If you'd rather chill with your cider, that makes a terrific beverage option, too.

Making your own cider takes a bit of elbow grease, but it's well worth the effort, especially during such a great time of year. What a fantastic way to make some family fun and a tasty treat!

Watch: Varieties of apples

Red and Golden Delicious may be the most common, but there are more than 10,000 varieties of apples! Watch this video to learn about the appearance, texture and taste of a variety of apples.

More seasonal apple recipes to try

Drunken apple spice muffin
Chunky cheese and apple dip
Apple butter
Pork chops with sautéed apples
Grilled cheese and apple sandwich

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