Growing up in Maryland, October meant time for picking apples. We would go as a family on a weekend to one of the U-pick places nearby. I loved going by all of the different kinds of trees trying to see which ones were our favorites. I remember really wanting to like the Red Delicious ones because they were so bright and pretty, but their flavor wasn’t what I wanted. Instead, my family usually preferred the wine sap/braeburn/stayman varieties. Depending on the farm, we could also pick out our pumpkins for carving after going on a short hayride.
I also always looked forward to apple cider that the places would usually have for you to try. They would have the warm, spiced ones, but my favorite has always been the chilled plain cider. We watched videos of how they would make it and could even see it happening in some of the places. I thought it was some magical task that had to be done by fancy machines. Little did I know that you could make it at home!
Growing up in Maryland also meant that I took for granted having apple cider year-round from local places. I wouldn’t even buy it that often because it was so common, so I didn’t see the need to “stock up”. Moving out to Seattle, I figured I would have plenty of opportunities to have all kinds of apple treats. Little did I know that my part of the state doesn’t do the same kind of cider we’re used to, or have the U-pick orchards I loved as a kid [Update: Just found out we do!]. I was crushed! My husband has been more distraught than I have about the cider because he loves it! We went on a search for proper cider, but could only find the spiced variety or stuff that tasted more like apple juice.
Finally I came across a method for making it at home and it takes a little bit of effort, but it is super tasty! All you need for “special” equipment is cheese cloth and a food processor.
If you can find apple cider easily that you like, this probably is more work and money than you need. We were able to get it for a good price back home, so I wouldn’t have a need to make it there. Here, I can get apples for a good price and we can’t get it, so if you’re like me or just like homemade goodies–here you go:
The only ingredients you need are apples! Start by washing and roughly chopping a wide variety of apples. Be sure to include mostly Braeburn apples or their equivalent, along with a few sweet apples, too. When you chop them, you can just quarter them so that the pieces aren’t too much for the food processor to handle.
To make almost 1 cup of cider, you need 1 decent-sized apple. You can make as little or as much as you want.
Apple Cider Directions
- Place the apple pieces (as many as you can fit at a time) in the food processor with the sabatier blade. Turn it on and let it go, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary, to turn the apple pieces into a chunky-looking apple sauce.
- For each batch, dump out into a piece of cheesecloth. Squeeze the cheesecloth to get all of the juice out into a large bowl. You can toss the apple bits after this step (feel free to compost).
- Continue until all of the apples have been used.
- Pour the juice through a mesh strainer to filter any bits that got through the cheesecloth.
- Chill the cider at least one hour.
That’s it! Now, because it’s not pasteurized, it won’t keep very long, but luckily it’s so tasty it never lasts that long!