The leaves are changing, the air is cooling, and the garden chores have slowed down. It is time to slow down a bit, reflect on the growing season, and enjoy the bounty of our harvest.
Growing up in Michigan fall has always been a time for apple cider and hay rides, donuts and warm pies. As we transition to eating heartier fare and spend more time baking, it is easy to fall to the temptation of sweet treats.
Michigan is the number two producer of apples in the nation with most of those apples being grown in the southwest part of the state. We are surrounded with apple orchards. When I was little I remember going to watch fresh cider being made. The year I graduated from college I worked at a local apple orchard picking apples. So apples are special to me.
Every time I drink a cup of warm apple cider, I think of all of the good times I have had in the cooler part of the year, I think of picking up the dropped apples to use for cider. But I have cut way back on drinking Juice, in order to avoid the spike in blood sugar.
The good news is that the natural sweetness of apples can be used to enhance so many things that we can still have the memories without all of the Negative benefits.
Last year we had a bumper crop of apples. It was the best year for apples that I can remember in my life time. Our little back yard tree produced about 15 bushels of apples. So we had a lot of processing to do. We made applesauce and apple juice out of most of them. They are a sweeter apple so they didn’t work as well for pies, and the apple sauce was fast.
This is the process you can use.
- Cut the apples up leaving the seeds and skin, cook them with a little bit of water until soft.
- Run them through a food mill or strainer.
- Then as the juice separates pour it off into another pot.
- Can both of them in a pressure canner in order to preserve shelf life.
I have been looking at videos about making apple cider and there are several about making it at home. I would like to try that sometime. But through the process that we used above we were able to get both apple sauce and juice. With just the skin and seeds left to throw away.
American Cider is just juice that is less filtered. We filtered ours quite a bit, but we could have left a little more sediment. Then we would have had Cider without building all the equipment.
The good thing about apple sauce and juice is they make great ingredients. You can use apple especially with pork or chicken. After searing off some pork chops, pour some apple sauce over them and let them cook until tender. Or try this Chicken recipe I developed for the crock pot.
Cider Glazed Chicken
10Lbs Chicken Quarters ( you can use two home raised chickens, cut up)
3 TBSP Salt
1 Quart Apple cider(or Juice)
1 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Black Pepper
½ cup Corn Starch or equivalent Glucomannan
- Layer chicken in Crock pot or slow cooker salting each layer
- Pour Apple cider over top covering the chicken
- Cook on low 8 hours or so.
- Drain and strain the Juice into a pot on the stove
- Add the Maple Syrup and Black Pepper
- Thicken with Starch by mixing equal parts cold water and starch and then stirring into the Boiling liquid. Bring it back to a boil while stirring and then add more if need be.
- When the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, pull it off of the stove and pour over the chicken.
Note: Apples are one of the dirty dozen foods because of the high amount of pesticides used to produce them. So use Organic whenever possible.
What Apple Recipes do you love to make?