Apple Cider Syrup

Apples are an old-fashioned food, one that was familiar to many of the pioneer women! In order to preserve these fruits for winter, they would dry ’em. When needed for sauce, pies or cake, apples would be re-hydrated to feed those within their households. Cool, hey? Even before their time? Apples were commonly used to make vinegar and ‘hard cider.’ It’s still a common practice today.

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But today I’d like to share a different recipe with you, an old fashioned and delicious syrup made from….apples!

My photography skills don’t do it justice. And there is no way I can match the powerful flavor in words. This is truly the most delicious syrup I’ve ever tasted. And even better? It may be safely water-bath canned and stored away for the winter months!

An old fashioned pioneer recipe!

 

What to do with it? Oh-don’t-get-me-started! Drizzle it on pancakes, over morning oatmeal, as a topping for ice cream, cake, or muffins,  apple pie and baked squash, as a sweetener and flavor for a cup of hot tea or milk…options are endless!

It’s simple to make the cider but you’ll need a method to extract liquid from apples. I prefer to save juice from the fall cider-pressing parties, or use my electric Champion Juicer. There is another technique for those who don’t have either option (check out the 2nd recipe if this is you).

Apple Cider Syrup (from cider)

  • 1 gallon apple cider (makes approx 4 C of finished product)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves (optional)
  • 2 Tbs of herbs (optional)

Directions:pour apple juice into a pot and set to high heat. Add spices if desired, but wait until the (approx) last 15-20 minutes before adding herbs. If using the syrup to glaze meats, a touch of herbal flavor is delicious! Rosemary, oregano and mint have a dominant flavor and go well with most meats. Note: don’t try canning thyme as it develops an ‘old’ flavor!

Bring liquid to a rolling boil and let it to cook down for the following 1 1/2-2 hrs. If cider is still raw, a scum-like foam will develop on the surface and ought to be skimmed off every 30 minutes.

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As cider boils down, colors will change from the dull brown pictured above to a rich, red tone. When liquid is reduced to approximately 1/4 the original content (approx 4 C of syrup), begin to watch and test for thickness.

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To test: Take a spoon and scoop some syrup into a small measuring cup. Set in freezer for several minutes. Remove and check thickness. If at the desired consistency, ladle hot syrup into four, half pint (known as 1 C or 250ml) canning jars and process in a water-bath canner according to altitude.

Note: If you boil this recipe down to 1/6 the original content, it will gel and thicken after canning jars have cooled. But that’s another recipe for another day!

Where I live at just over 2,000ft in elevation, 250 ml (1 C jars) had to be processed for 15 minutes.

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The second method for making apple cider syrup yields a lightly colored and mildly-flavored syrup. Due to the natural pectin in apple peels, it will thicken with far less boiling time! When the two methods were compared side-by-side, the first has (by far) the richest flavor but the process takes much longer.Both are delicious, both have their positives and negatives. Either one makes a much-appreciated Christmas gift (hint for the holidays)!

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Apple Cider Syrup (from cooked apples)

  • apple halves to fill a 3 gallon stockpot (approx 15 lbs)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 2-3 cloves (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbs herbs

Directions: halve apples. Stems and core may be left intact. Place apples and water in the bottom of a 3 gallon stockpot. Bring to boil and cover with lid. Simmer until apples are pulpy and soft (approx 30 min). Pour apples and liquid into a cloth and hang to drip for at least 8 hours.

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When finished, test flavor of liquid. If happy with the strength and flavor of it, process in a waterbath canner. If not (or if herbs and spices are desired for flavor) return liquid to simmer on the stove top. Test for thickness by placing a spoonful in the freezer and chilling. When happy with results, remove from stove top and pour into half pint (1 C or 250 ml) glass canning jars. Process according to altitude.

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At just over 2,000 ft in elevation, I had to process half pints (250 ml) for 15 minutes.

 

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