Apple Cider Syrup

Apples are an old-fashioned food, one that many a pioneer woman over-wintered her family on. For her, the common procedure was to dry the fruit for re-hydration when needed for apple sauce, pies or cakes. Going back even before that time? We know apples were commonly used to make vinegar and ‘hard cider.’ It’s still a common practice today.

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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 can be water-bath canned and stored away for the winter months!

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

It’s simple and you’ll need a method to extract liquid from apples. I prefer to use my electric Champion Juicer, but there is another technique for those who don’t have one (check out the 2nd recipe if this is you).

 

 

Apple Cider Syrup (from cider)

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 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 are a great option!

Bring liquid to a rolling boil and leave it to cook down. If cider was made with an electric juicer, 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. Let it boil hard for 1 1/2-2 hours. When liquid is reduced to approximately 1/4 the original content, begin to watch and test for thickness.

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To test: Take a spoon and scoop some syrup into a small bowl. Set in freezer for several minutes. Remove and check thickness. If at the desired consistency, ladle hot syrup into 1-2 C canning jars and process in a water-bath canner according to altitude.

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 lighter colored and mild-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. With the first method, scraps can be used to make raw apple cider vinegar, whereas the second recipe requires cooking of the apples, destroying its potential for use as a raw vinegar. 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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Old-Fashioned Apple Cider Syrup

  • apple halves to fill a 3 gallon stockpot
  • 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 of it, process in a waterbath canner. If not, return liquid to simmer on the stove top. Test by placing a spoonful in the freezer and chilling. If happy with thickness, add herbs or spices and reduce heat, simmering for 15-20 more minutes. Remove and pour into 1 C glass canning jar. Process according to altitude.

At just over 2,000 ft in elevation, I had to process 250 ml (1 C jars) for 15 minutes.

 

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