I got a bit distracted, didn't I? We were talking about apples, and then I ran off and started making stews and burgers. Typical.
Since I've had apple cinnamon porridge for breakfast, spread apple butter on just about everything, and eaten apples for dinner in this curried pork stew, it seems like it's time I cut to the chase and make an apple cider. Number one benefit of making apple cider: it uses a lot of apples. (And make for a nice hot toddy base!)
Apple cider is pretty easy to make. You just wash, chop, blend, and strain. Any add ins, like cinnamon or ginger, are optional but seal the deal. Because I still had a lot of apples to go through, I split my cider into batches and played with different flavors: Traditional Apple Spice, Peach Cinnamon, and my favorite, Ginger Pomegranate.
After all of that chopping, I was a sticky mess. (Consider that your warning.)
Juice in generally tends to take me for a sugary roller coaster ride: hyper for about 5 minutes, and then a sudden crash accompanied by a headache. Knowing this, I wanted to try my hand at lacto-ferment my cider, which can lower the sugar content and add a nice fizz. The lacto-fermentation process doesn't generally add alcohol (and certainly not in significant amounts), but does turn an otherwise sugary drink into a probiotic treat that's good for your digestive system.
It's not necessary to ferment these ciders, but it does add something. If you're sensitive to whey, you'll probably want to skip it, or look into using yeast instead. I have no experience in yeast fermentation, so my recipe is for lacto-fermentation.
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
- 16 cups chopped apples
- 2 cups water
- Optional: 2 tablespoon whey (strained from kefir or yogurt, not whey powder) For the Apple Cinnamon version:
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 whole allspice berries, ground
- 3 whole cloves, ground For the Peach Cinnamon version:
- 4 cups chopped peaches
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom For the Pomegranate Ginger version:
- 2 pomegranates
- 2-inch piece ginger
- Wash, core, and chop the apples. Place chopped fruit in a blender with water. Blend until smooth (you may need to do this in several batches). At this point, add the peaches, if making the peach version, or the ginger and pomegranate, if making that version. Blend until fully incorporated, and no chunks remain.
- Pour puree into a fine mesh strainer, through a cheese cloth, or a nut milk bag.
- Discard pulp. Pour juice into a large pot. If you are making the apple cinnamon or peach cinnamon version, add the spices to the pot now, and then bring the whole batch to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool. Pour the juice through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag again.
- Transfer to a bottle with an air-tight lid, and store in cool place. Juice can be enjoyed immediately, or fermented. For optional fermentation, see next step.
- Fermenting will cut back a little bit on the natural sugars in the juice, making a tart, slightly sour (or more sour, depending on how long you ferment) beverage. If you are going to do this step, use bottles with swing caps to prevent explosions. Add whey to the bottle before closing. Store in cool, dark place. Once a dark, check on the cider, popping the top of the bottles to allow condensation out. Allow to ferment at least 3 days before serving (the longer you wait the more tart it will become). Store in cool place after fermentation is complete.