Now that I have your attention, what in the heck is Boiled Cider and why would you want to make it?
First, let me share a bit of history. From the mid-1600’s up until around the 1920s, it was a common item in many kitchens. Whenever orchards abounded, boiled cider, sometimes referred to as apple molasses or apple cider syrup, was a pantry staple – a general-purpose sweetener that cooks reached for as we do with honey today. It was, and still is, commonly used in baking and as a condiment in many basic dishes. Think of it as a replacement for honey or molasses.
It’s super easy to make. When refrigerated, it will last indefinitely, and it has so many uses.
- 1 gallon fresh, unfiltered Apple Cider (preservative-free)
Sterilize 2 to 3 8oz. jars
Pour the cider into a large, heavy, nonreactive jam, soup or stockpot. (Read notes below.) Bring the cider to a full boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and continue to cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring now and then for approximately 4 to 4½ hours. In the last 30 minutes, begin to stir the boiled cider more frequently to prevent scorching. Stir until it has reduced to about 2¼ cups. It’s done when the boiled cider coats the back of a spoon, with a consistency that’s much like honey.
Using a funnel, ladle the hot boiled cider into the sterilized jars. Allow it to cool to room temperature. The boiled cider is now ready to use. For later use, tightly seal the jars and refrigerate. Boiled cider will keep indefinitely when refrigerated.
- Hot beverage idea – Mix 1 tablespoon boiled cider (or to taste) to ¾ cup hot water.
- Drizzled over pancakes, waffles, or pound cake
- On buttered scones, biscuits or toast
- Add to cereal or oatmeal
- Ingredient in baked or fried apples
- Sweeten mashed sweet potatoes or yams
- Glaze for sweet potatoes, butternut squash, winter squash or carrots, ham or some meats
- Ingredient in pastries, cakes, pies, and tarts
- A sweetener in baked beans
- Works well in vinaigrettes
- Ingredient in barbecue sauces
- Over yogurt or ice cream
- In cocktails
To help gauge what 2¼ cups looks like in your pot, first pour in that amount of uncooked cider, measure with a kitchen ruler, make a note of the measurement and then add the remaining cider. Doing this will help provide you with a very nice gauge to give you a good end-product. This recipe can be doubled or cut in half; you may need to adjust the time accordingly. A few tips when boiling down the cider: I set two timers, one for 4½ hours and another for 30 minutes at a time to remind myself when to give the cider a stir. The last 30 minutes is when you’ll need to stir much more frequently.
The boiled cider will seem like it will never come to a syrup consistency but within the last 30 minutes or so it will and fast. The best way to know it’s getting there is when it starts to foam; it will then quickly start to thicken. Using your kitchen ruler, frequently measure for the 2¼-cup measurement you noted in the beginning. It will start to look like thick molasses. Continue to stir and measure until you’ve reached the desired level and thickness. Doing this ensures your Boiled Cider consistency will be perfect.
I will admit it takes some time, but it doesn’t require constant attention. In fact, I’ll often go about my business, and when the timer sounds, I give the cider a stir and return to whatever I was doing. But I have to say I ADORE the tart-sweet result. I also make a large batch for gifts, and for use through the fall and winter months. It’s wonderful in so many dishes or drizzled over so many things. It’s easy enough, why not give it a go?
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out my recipe booklet’s for sale on this site and purchase some of the tools I used below for this “Just Plain Cranberry Sauce” below. 🙂