Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn Love & Apple Cider

I love everything about autumn: pumpkins, halloween, the beautiful trees changing, and the leaves crunching under my feet. The air is nice and crisp and you can see your breath. And I especially love those days where the weather is cold enough that you wear a sweater, but warm enough to go coatless. Like I said, I love autumn!

I also love all the food that goes along with the season: pumpkin pie (heck- pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING) carmel apples, warm apple cider... all those foods that make you feel toasty and fuzzy on the inside!

Which is why I especially loved today's lazy Sunday. While Mark and Zac chose to take a romantic manly trip by floating down the river in a canoe to catch fish, Kim and I decided to locate an apple orchard and make home-made apple cider.

Most of the orchards were closed on Sundays, and those that weren't were way too far away, so we finally settled on Lilly's Orchard (in Broadripple- 500 71st Street,) which is more of a little country store with barrels and barrels of a ton of varieties of apples. They also have other fresh produce, pies, pumpkins, mums, and a lot of jellies, jams, etc.

We got 25 Fuji apples (these are a sweeter variety and were only about $9.00,) carmel apples for ourselves, some spices and a few pumpkins. Kim got some blueberry jam that was also DELICIOUS. Now here comes the recipe:

What you'll need:
10 apples (pick a sweet variety!)
1 cup of sugar
4 Tbsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp allspice (instead of the above spices, we ended up buying a little cider spice mix made up of cinnamon, allspice, orange peel and cloves. So you may want to add a few other things to yours, too!)

Cheesecloth (or coffee filters)
A deep pot
A fine-strainer

Get started!

1. Cut the apple into quarters and dump them into the pot. No need to de-stem, de-skin or de-seed!

2. Fill the pot with water so the apples are completely covered, plus a little extra.

3. If you don't have some sort of tea-diffuser ball. Use two coffee filters and fill each with half of your spices. Cut a third coffee filter to make two strips and tie up the spice-filled filters into little sachets.

3. Add 1 cup of sugar. Stir it all up. Be careful not to injure the spice sachets!

4. Boil the apples for 1 hour on high heat, uncovered. (Your house will smell DIVINE!)


Kim and I felt like witches brewing up something special!

5. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer 2 hours.

6. Remove the lid and spice sachets and use a masher or a whisk to mash up the apples.

7. Strain the "pulp" into a serving bowl (or just a regular bowl, you can transfer later) you will have to smash it down to get as much liquid out as possible. You may want to run it through a cheesecloth or strain it again to get all the pulp out... but once was enough for us.
Here we are straining and mashing away!

8. Serve and enjoy! This should make about a half-gallon. When I make it again I'm actually going to double it because I had more than enough room in my pot!

Even though this recipe takes a while, it's pretty maintenance free, and would be a great idea to start making a few hours before a party, so your place smells heavenly when guests walk in!

So while the girls' afternoon turned out successful, the boys weren't quite as fruitful (pun intended!) They caught zero fish in four hours. And the float down the river they were hoping for didn't quite work out... they had to paddle the whole way. But they did get some beautiful shots of the season... perfect to look at while drinking warm apple cider!







Have a fantastic fall :)
Live & Love!

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