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Making Apple Cider At Home

Oct 31, 2023 03:41PM ● By Aimee Vollmann

Kimball Union Academy Apple Cider Press

Whether you’re buying it from the grocery store or getting it straight from the local orchard, apple cider is a crisp, refreshing beverage that many of us enjoy this time of year. If you’re an apple enthusiast, you may wonder how you can make apple cider at home. It’s quite simple, both on the stovetop and done by a press.

Most people don’t have presses at home so the stovetop will do just fine. There are a few different ways to make cider, so depending on your taste, this recipe can be altered. You’ll need 10 to 12 apples, quartered; 1 to 2 oranges, quartered (and peeled if you want it less tart; the oranges are optional); 4 cinnamon sticks; 1 tablespoon whole cloves; ½ cup brown sugar or maple syrup; and optional spices: 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 whole nutmeg. 

1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, add all the ingredients. Add enough water so the apples are covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. 

2. Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash the apples and oranges, then simmer once more for 1 hour, uncovered. 

3. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth, pressing to squeeze all the juices out. 

4. Discard solids and serve.  

If you are more of a dedicated apple cider hobbyist like Dr. Blaine Kopp, the Luis Munro Chair of Environmental Studies at Kimball Union Academy, you might have a press at home. Making cider through a press is very simple. “It can’t be any more unsophisticated,” says Dr. Kopp, “we just squeeze the juice out of apples with a bit of a mechanical advantage.” The apples aren’t cored, peeled, or cut. Just put them in the press, and they’re shredded by the wheel and then pressed by a metal plate, allowing the juices to strain through the mesh bag into a bucket. And there you have freshly pressed cider.

Now, squeezing the juice out of apples might have you thinking, is that not just apple juice? Yes and no. Apple cider is raw pressed apple juice with all the bits and pieces simply strained out, giving it a darker color. Apple juice is filtered and made without all the particulates, which changes the color and the flavor.

Whether you have a cider press or are cooking it on the stove, making apple cider is a great way to enjoy the wonderful apple crop the orchards provide here in the Upper Valley.

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