Now that we’re right smack dab in the middle of apple season, it’s easy to find fresh apple cider in gallon jugs from your local farmer’s market. And if you’re like me, you might be interested to know you can preserve that apple cider into apple cider syrup which can be stored in your pantry and used all year long.
One of the main reasons I love apple cider syrup so much is that it can be used to make hot apple cider on a cold winter’s day. And although that purpose is worthy enough on its own, I also like to pour it over my pancakes and waffles (try over homemade pumpkin pancakes!), cooked squashes, and as an alternative sweetener in my baked goods.
Luckily, just one gallon of apple cider generally yields enough syrup to make enough for you and a friend or two. This year, I’m planning to give away gift baskets including a jar of my apple cider syrup, a mug, and a little handwritten recipe card with directions for its most basic use: hot apple cider. The directions are as follows:
Pour 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider syrup in a mug. Top with boiling hot water. Stir until dissolved, garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!
Pour the apple cider into a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer, and continue cooking the cider until the volume is reduced by half.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature, continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the cider reaches 218°F (do not exceed). Remove from heat.
Pour the cider into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Top with lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. Remove from water and place on a towel-lined countertop to cool until room temperature. Remove bands, check seals, and store in a cool, dark place.
Makes 2-3 half pint jars, depending on how much you reduce your cider.
I used yellow tags and labels in the style Treasury, and packaged my cider in a small basket with a matching mug. In my mug, I added a little handwritten note card with instructions on how to make a hot cup of apple cider with my cider syrup.