Y’all. This one was quite the adventure! Here are a couple things about me… I don’t really like Halloween, really at all. However, there are a couple things about Fall that I do love and they are (in priority order): fair food (namely funnel cakes and fried oreos), apples from an orchard, and apple cider.
A couple years ago, I went over to a friend’s house who was making apple cider on the stove and I LOVED it. Come to find out… It was Spiced Cider from Trader Joe’s. Fast forward to me stockpiling Spiced Cider from TJ’s and drinking warm mugs to get me through studying for my college exams. I’m telling you, this stuff is good.
However, through all my mugs of Spiced Cider, I never thought about trying to make it myself. After my adventures in Apple Spice Bread last week, I thought – how hard can it be? I haven’t had a chance to make my annual trip to TJ’s to stock up, so why not try to make it?
Well. Let me cut to the chase – making this at home was a lot harder than I thought. Here are some notes…
- I started with this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (because she’s never led me astray). If you notice, the ingredients are actually really minimal. You basically only need apples, an orange, and some spices.
- In the morning, I chopped up all the apples and the orange. At this point, my ENTIRE crockpot was full of apples (I chopped 10) – so much so that I wasn’t sure the lid was going to fit on. I filled up the water and added the spices – at this point, we were good to go and everything was golden. Side notes… I ended up adding in some nutmeg as well and only put in about 2-3 tablespoons of cider.
- After ~7 hours, I realized that I needed to mash the apples. In a crockpot FULL of apples and liquid (somehow I think the apples actually expanded), how was I going to mash them? So I basically pulled them out by the spoonful, mashed them on a plate, and then put them back in. This took a good bit of time and was pretty messy. I then let it cook for about an hour more on Low.
- This is where it gets really messy, literally. I realized I needed to strain the mushy apple liquid – so that I could be left with my finished apple cider. All I had was a colander, that I later realized would not filter out the apple pieces like I was hoping. To cut to the chase… I ended up scalding myself trying to pour the apple liquid from my crockpot into the colander/ another large pot. It was honestly a mess. After I finally got all the liquid in, my husband and I just looked at each other and laughed.
- After 3 giant pots of dishes, apple mush everywhere, and a burnt hand… I finally had only a 1/2 gallon of apple cider. Then the question I was asking was… Was it worth it?
- All in all… The end product tasted pretty good, but I’m definitely not chomping at the bit to try this again, since TJ’s Spiced Cider is so stinking good.
Would love to hear if you make this and it goes better than me! Again, the end result tasted good… But at what cost? Ha.
Happy baking (or cider-making)!