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Fall is Apple Time! Make Boiled Cider for Delicious Gluten-Free Cooking

I’m not one of the lucky people with my own apple orchard, but I do celebrate Autumn with as many apple dishes as possible. I especially love Jonathan, Honey Crisp, and the new one, Sweet Tango.

Apple cider makes flavorful baking ingredient.

Fall apples are perfect for baking and cooking.

But I also like to drink apple cider in the Fall. Lately, I’ve been reading about boiled cider which is just plain apple cider boiled down to a thick syrup. However, the price is over $10 for only a pint (2 cups) and it has to be mail-ordered which makes this a very expensive ingredient. So, why not make your own? All you need is a gallon of apple cider that costs around $3 and a little patience.

Why is boiled cider so tasty? Apple cider is very flavorful; boiling it down to a syrup makes it even MORE tasty with a strong sweet-tart apple flavor that complements many dishes. If you can’t find apple cider, use apple juice instead.

Boiled Apple Cider

Pour 3 cups of uncooked cider into the pot to see what that amount looks like so you know when the cider reaches that goal. I use a plastic ruler to gauge the depth of 3 cups of cider in my pot.

1 gallon apple cider

Large glass jar with a screw-on lid (at least 3 cups capacity)

4 to 5 hours of your time

[1] Pour the cider into a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive stockpot (not cast-iron, copper, or aluminum). Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally. It will gradually reduce down to 3 cups as it simmers.

[2]Towards the end, the mixture will become noticeably thicker and more syrupy. Frequent stirring during the last 30 minutes is important to avoid scorching it. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.  Pour into a sterilized glass jar, screw the lid on tightly, and refrigerate, covered, indefinitely.

Boiled apple cider is delicious on gluten-free pancakes.

Boiled apple cider is delicious on gluten-free pancakes.

How to Use Boiled Cider

How can you use it? It is a dark brown similar to maple syrup, so it works best as an ingredient in darker-colored dishes. It will add phenomenal taste to your gluten-free baking. Stir a couple of tablespoons into the apple filling for Apple Crisp; replace honey or molasses in recipes for gingerbread, apple cake, or spice muffins; brush on grilled vegetables for a sweet-tart taste; add a bit to your homemade vinaigrette; drizzle over pancakes or waffles; eat it like jelly on cornbread; pour it over ice cream; drizzle it on grilled fruit; or add it to your favorite barbecue sauce. It keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator, although I guarantee you’ll use it up fairly quickly since the recipe only makes 3 cups.

Carol’s Special Tips

[1] Many recipes suggest boiling the syrup down to about 2 cups. But I found that this makes a very firm, hard-to-pour syrup once it is chilled. In fact, it was so hard that I had to pry it from the jar! So, I suggest boiling it down to 3 cups for easier pouring and measuring.

[2] Rather than a wooden spoon, I use a spatula specially designed for high-heat. Its straight edge allows me to scrape the bottom of the pot more thoroughly than a rounded spoon would allow.

[3] Some recipes say to boil the cider down until it coats the back of the spoon but I found that this reduces it down too far (resulting in the hard mass I mentioned above).

[4] If your boiled cider gets thick when chilled, be sure to warm it up to a liquid state before measuring.

[5] Be patient. This recipe takes time. Choose a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when you’re at home and can stir the pot frequently. Your reward is a delicious, gluten-free ingredient that costs a fraction of the store-bought version.

[6] As I looked through recipes where boiled cider would be appropriate, I noticed that many apple recipes call for Apple Pie Spice. In case you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own with the following recipe.

-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Whisk together and store in a dark, dry place. Use within six months.

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