It’s super easy to make your own delicious apple cider with your slow cooker. You don’t need a press or anything. I go apple-picking each fall and select a variety of apples (they last forever in your cold cellar). But, it’s totally fine to just grab apples from your local grocery store, you need about 3 lbs for my base recipe. I highly recommend using a variety of apples to create a depth of flavour, but even if you only use two different kinds, it will have a unique taste.
Falling Day’s Apple Cider
- 3lbs apples
- 8 cups water
- spices (optional)
- citrus (optional)
- Honey or sugar (optional)
- You can either core your apples, or chop them off the core; whatever works. You don’t need to peel them. Chop them into fairly large pieces.
- If you’re using citrus, chop those up too, peels and all–just try to get all the seeds out. I use clementines a lot because they are so plentiful and delicious in the late fall and early winter. However, oranges, tangerines, any of the orange citrus will work nicely. For three pounds of apples, I use about 3 clementines, or one orange.
- Put your fruit in the slow cooker and cover with 8 cups water.
- Put in any spices you want. I usually throw in a cinnamon stick or two. If you want a heavy, super-spicy cider, put in about 4 cinnamon sticks. Some other spices that work well are nutmeg (pre-grind), cardamom, or any other warm baking spice.
- Set your slow cooker to 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- An hour before your cooking time is over, mash up the fruit. I use a potato masher and just mush it all up. If you want a lighter-spiced cider, you could add spices now instead of when you start cooking it.
When the time is up, take out the cider by the ladle-full and pour it into your fine-meshed strainer basket, cheese cloth or other straining device. When you use a meshed strainer basket, you need to use the ladle to press the cider. This just means you are mashing the ladle down over top of the cider and pushing the juice through the strainer. It takes a little time, but it’s not difficult or hard to do. I recommend using a clean bowl or large measuring cup to press it into, then move it into your cider-container. If using cheese cloth (or coffee filter or other linen), you can sort of nest the cider into the cloth and then gently squeeze out the juice.
- Now is the time to add any sweetener if you want. I find it tastes better without, but once or twice a year I make an “apple pie” cider that my husband and kids really like, I add about a 1/2 cup of honey. If you use honey, I recommend heating up the honey just a little bit, so that it more quickly dissolves into the cider.
- Let it cool and then refrigerate. I think it will last a couple of weeks in the fridge, but my cider has never been around long enough to find out!! It’s totally normal that there will be separation when it settles in the fridge, you will need to shake or stir it each time you take it out to enjoy.