When people think of fruit crops in Door County, what immediately comes to mind is, of course, cherries, but apples make up a significant portion of local orchards in our area as well.
The harvest of many varieties starts in mid-September and lasts for about a month. When the colors on the trees start to make their transformation from the greens of summer to the spectacular explosion of reds, yellows and oranges of autumn, you can bet that the daily specials in local eateries will soon include fresh apple pie, apple crisp and hot apple cider.
The difference between apple cider and apple juice is fermentation. Fermentation is the chemical process that turns sugar into alcohol which causes cider to have a little more effervescence (though a negligible alcohol content). This recipe can be made using either prepared apple cider or apple juice.
This concoction makes enough for about 10 people and will last in the fridge for up to a week. The aroma that it creates is a wonderful way to welcome people into your home.
Autumn Harvest Cider Recipe
In a large pot combine:
8 cups apple juice or cider
2 cups orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup fresh lemon juice
To this juice mixture add:
½ cup of brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
Cook over medium heat until the ingredients come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh orange and lemon slices.
For an adults-only version, remove cider from heat and add ½ cup of dark or spiced rum.
For those of you willing to take this recipe a little further in the “homemade” category, here is a simple way to make your own apple cider without the need for heavy equipment such as a fruit press.
10 apples of various varieties, peeled and cored.
¾ cup sugar
4 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Add all of the ingredients in a large pot and cover with water. Boil, uncovered for one hour. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Let cool and mash the apples with a potato masher (there is no need to drain). Pour entire mixture through a strainer into a container and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a year.