Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. I love the crisp, cool air and the smell of warm toasty things. There are still a couple weeks left of summer but now that the temperatures have dropped in the mornings and I’ve started wearing long-sleeves – it feels like fall has arrived early. To celebrate this fall-like weather, I decided to make some delicious sweet homemade apple cider in my crockpot.
I decided to use 12 smallish apples to make my cider. A mixed variety is best – the apple vendor at the farmer’s market suggested a combination of gala, pristine and honey crisp so that’s what I used for this particular batch. If you have a larger slow cooker, feel free to add more apples and adjust the spices as needed.
A lot of people will tell you that you don’t have to core and remove your apple stems, but I do. I think it makes it easier to strain and save the pulp once your cider is done. I also decided to leave the peels on, to help color and flavor the cider. I cored and chopped my apples and cut off any parts that were bruised. I put the apples in my crockpot along with some spices and used just enough filtered water to cover the apples. I set it on high for about 5 hours (4 to 8 will do just fine though) and when it was done, I strained the cider. I don’t like to waste so I decided to make an apple chutney with the leftover apples. You can easily make tasty applesauce though (just blend the pulp).
As for adding sweetener – my husband and I feel differently about sugar. I like a little and he likes a lot so I decided to sweeten our cider individually by cup rather than in the crock pot. Maple syrup is the secret sweetener to making your cider spectacular. It gives the cider so much depth. I get my syrup from a local farmer, but if you don’t have access to fresh maple syrup then be sure to buy Grade B at your grocery store. This is so important. Grade B maple syrup is thicker and darker than the syrup you’re probably used to pouring on top of your pancakes. It has caramel undertones and everyone knows caramel and apples make an excellent pair. This syrup can take your cider from incredibly decent to very decadent.
- Put chopped apples and spices in crock pot and pour just enough filtered water to cover the apples.
- Set crock pot on high 4-8 hours.
- Strain cider before serving.
- Add maple syrup to taste, and enjoy!