Seriously. Tomorrow is May first, and the world is completely covered in snow. In the spirit of extended winter, I made apple cider today. Back when hubby was in school, he got it in his head that he wanted homemade apple cider, so I figured out how to make it and made him a couple batches. It's pretty easy, but I make it in the slow cooker, so it just takes forever. It also makes my entire house smell like Christmas and fall for a few days.
I've tried it with peeled apples, and with apples that still have their peel, and I decided the biggest difference was the amount of prep time. The recipe is extremely exact, I know. You quarter some apples, add some water, throw in some spices, and cook it until they're done. If you mess up a tiny bit, then it's all gone wrong. Kidding.
Quarter some apples and put them in a crock pot. I put too many apples in, don't fill it this full, but I just used all that I had, and I'm stubborn. Pour water in, until the apples start to float a little.
For sure you need cinnamon and cloves, and I added ginger, allspice and nutmeg. I forgot to put nutmeg in the picture. I added a teaspoon or so of cloves, two sticks of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of each of the spices at first. The spices you can always add more of at the end, after you taste it, but the cloves and cinnamon need to cook into the cider. Also, I would suggest adding a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. I was out this time, so I used white sugar, but it was definitely better with brown.
Turn your crock pot on low, and let it cook all day. It typically takes about eight hours, but you want the apples to cook and all the flavours to marry. Last time that I made this, I made it in two different crock pots at the same time. Admittedly, they had different amounts of apples and water, because they were different sizes, but after eight hours, this is what they looked like.
You want them to look like the one on the bottom, however long that takes. It might actually take less time, but as long as you don't burn it, you can leave it in.
I maybe forgot I had made apple cider until 10:30, so mine cooked for a little more than ten hours. I added my sugar then, and since it made exactly three cups, I didn't store any. However, you could. I have poured it straight into mason jars and sealed them, or just let them cool and put them in the fridge for a few days. It microwaves well.
The perfect remedy to a winter that just won't end.