Homemade Apple Cider
Much of the lore surrounding apple cider is unnecessarily daunting. At its most basic, an aromatic and flavorful cider is a matter of boiling quartered apples (seeds, stems, skins, and all) with a halved orange and a handful of spices. It only takes a few minutes to cut the fruit and throw it in the pot with some spices before covering it in water. Then the pot simmers for 2 hours before a wooden spoon is used to crush all of the soft fruit in the pot. After simmering for a little longer, the cider is ready to be strained and sweetened with some dark brown sugar. Using a variety of apples is best to maximize on apple flavor, but one thing is a must—using at least one tart variety of apple like Granny Smith. This tartness brightens up the cider and prevents it from tasting too sweet. Whole cloves and cinnamon sticks lend much of the traditional cider flavor, but the addition of whole cardamom pods, nutmeg, and star anise make the spiced flavor extra special. And the final addition of crushed fresh ginger rounds out all of the strong spices with a unique warmth and sweetness. So go ahead and get your pot ready and prepare yourself for the best smelling kitchen anyone could ask for, a harbinger of the flavorful cider to come.