It is amazing to think how much certain foods shape our memories, not because of the food itself, but because of what it is associated with. Even something as simple as some hot, spiced juice can become part of a key family tradition.
As you may have noticed from previous posts, we have quite a bit of a garden. Our house is on a rather large lot, and we have taken full advantage of it. In other words, we have a lot of gardening work to do! I can only make my family do so much without bribery, but thankfully, they’ll take food and drink for their payment.
In the fall and winter, much of the work centers around raking up leaves from our Liquid Amber trees, and hauling branches from plants that got their yearly pruning. Then there’s also the fire wood to stack, compost piles to be turned, garden beds to tend… so yeah, lots of work. It may not snow here, but it still can get a bit nippy.
After trudging around a cold garden, everyone is ready for a warmup and the first thing I’m asked is whether or not there’s any apple cider. The answer from me better be “yes”, otherwise I face certain mutiny. It’s a big yard, I need their cooperation.
Mulled Apple Cider Recipe
This recipe works much better with whole spices, rather than ground. The ground up spices tend to give a bit of a gritty feel, but they will work in a pinch. I’ve given amounts for both, and you’ll need less of the ground spices because their flavors are more readily dispersed in the liquid. You can also adjust them to suit your preferences.
- 1 gallon apple juice
- 3 sticks cinnamon (3-4 four inches each), or 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 6-8 allspice berries, or 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 6 cloves, or 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 6 cardamom pods, slightly cracked, or 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1 slice fresh ginger (about the size of a quarter), or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- peeled zest (the orange part, not the white pith under the skin) from half of a fresh orange, make sure the orange is clean, or 1/8 tsp. orange extract
In a large stock pot, put all the ingredients. Cover and turn the heat to high. Bring almost to a boil, then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Continue to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve to your cold family members so that they will keep doing chores for you!