Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Cider

I promised lots of pumpkin, and I'm here to deliver! This is kind of a recipe, but perhaps it's more of a starting point for you to hopefully draw some inspiration and adapt to meet your own cider preferences.

I like my cider spiced but not overpoweringly spiced, because I want to be able to taste the apple and pumpkin. So I always go easy on the spices when I first put everything into the slow cooker, then taste about an hour before serving and add more spices if needed.

I've made this pumpkin cider several times, after stealing the idea and basic ingredients from one of my college friends, Olivia. Every time I've made it, it's been warm, cozy, well-received by my guests, and perfect for a cool autumn evening. I like the twist on normal spiced cider, and it's easy to throw everything in the slow cooker early in the day, and let it do its thing.

Pumpkin Apple Cider
Inspired by Olivia
Yield: 10 servings if using 12-oz. cups

Ingredients (all measurements are approximate)
1 gallon apple cider (more or less depending on the size of your slow cooker)
1 to 1-1/2 cups orange juice
1/2 of a 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 orange
10ish whole cloves
Sprinkling of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon

Press the cloves into the orange. Pour all ingredients into a slow cooker, and stir with a whisk to distribute the pumpkin and spices evenly throughout the cider. Let simmer for several hours (I turned my slow cooker on high for the first hour to warm everything, then turned it down for the rest of the afternoon).

About an hour before time to serve, stir and taste. Add more spices if needed, and remove the orange if it's getting too clovey or too orangey. Continue to simmer. Stir before serving.

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