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HomeArts/LeisureAutumn Harvest: Apples for baking and cider-making

Autumn Harvest: Apples for baking and cider-making

Autumn. Leaves rustling around your feet as you walk across the yard. the vibrant yellows and burnt orange brilliance of the sugar maples is fading. Apples, ripe from the orchards, beckon, with a hint of apple pie and the warm taste of mulled cider.

As we move ever closer to the holidays, here’s our family rendition of hot mulled apple cider and oven baked apples for you to enjoy.

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

In a small bowl, mix star anise, whole allspice berries, dried orange peel and whole cloves (you can divide this mix and place in small cheesecloth bags). Reserve 12-24 cinnamon sticks. Half one orange, and slice the halves into 1/4 inch slices.

  • Fill a crock pot with cider (1/2 gallon or a gallon).
  • Add a handful of the spice mixture and 2-4 cinnamon sticks to the pot.
  • Cover and simmer on low for several (2-4) hours.

To serve, simply use a slotted spoon to remove the whole spices before using a ladle to fill your cider mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a thinly sliced wedge of fresh orange.

If you are so inclined, a shot of spiced rum can be added to each serving.

The aroma will your home and the taste is the perfect way to end a day or yard work or a stroll on a chilly afternoon.

Baked Apples

  • Six apples (I like Macs or Granny Smith’s)
  • sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins or dried cranberries

Core the apples. Coat the raisins/cransberries with a mix of the spices and sugar. With a teaspoon, fill the hollow core with the spiced mix. Wrap tightly in foil.

Oven method: Use a shallow baking dish with an inch of water. Set the wrapped in the water bath and bake for 1/2 at 325 degrees.

Grill: Place the wrapped apples on the upper shelf for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the level of heat on the grill.

The Backyard Method: As a child, we burned the leaves as they were being raked. Those triple foil wrapped apples were tossed into the fire and when the last of the leaves were ash the apples were “done.”

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