This story started out with a family trip to Skytop Orchard. We trekked the mountain, scouring trees for any remaining perfect apples, which is quite a feat since apparently September is late in the season for NC & there was a *slight* hail issue. We searched and sweated and finally picked 1/2 a basket-full before deciding to take advantage of the bins of pre-picked apples in the store… where we also discovered THE MOST AMAZING apple cider slushies. So naturally, I started researching and decided to try my hand at homemade cider. [The following is adapted from Gimme some Oven.]
CrockPot Apple Cider
- 9 medium apples, assorted types (I used a mixture of golden & red delicious, fuji and cameo apples)
- 1 orange
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg because that’s what I had… won’t be doing that again!)
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice (optional-I didn’t use)
- 12 cups water
- 2/3 cup brown sugar (or your desired sweetener – I used brown sugar in the crockpot process and maple syrup later in the slushies)
- Wash apples and the orange, and then roughly cut into quarters. (Initially, I didn’t remove peels, seeds, or stems but later wished I had because I pureed them to make applesauce & picking out all that stuff was a hot mess. literally.)
- Place in the bowl of your slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Cover with water, filling the slow cooker until it is nearly full. (I left about 1/2 inch of space at the top of my pot.)
- Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours, or on low heat for 6-8 hours.
- About an hour before the cider is done cooking, mash the apple and orange slices once they are soft. (I used my mix n’ chop from Pampered Chef – it’s one of my absolute favorite kitchen tools. If you don’t have one… you need to get one, like now.)
- Finish cooking for one more hour.
- Strain out the apple cider juice into a clean pitcher or pot. To get the maximum juice out of the apples, you can press them through a fine-mesh strainer or strain through a cheese cloth.
- Stir in your desired amount of sweetener until it is dissolved.
This is where the fun starts!
- I took some of the cider and froze it in a few ice trays. The rest I stored in the fridge.
- After carefully picking out all of the cloves, seeds, cinnamon sticks, stems, etc. [again, I’ll do it differently next time] I pureed the apples, with a little bit of the cider to smooth it out. And, voila! Applesauce!
- The next day it was slushy time! I tossed a handful of frozen cider cubes into my vitamix, added a few teaspoons of applesauce, a splash of cider & a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Blend it up, taste and add more sweetener if needed. If not, ENJOY! Seriously, it’s delicious!
Little man approved…