Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apple Syrup and All Things Apple

Smiley Face Pancake
Apple Syrup on Apple Pancakes

Recipe by Robin, Bruce & Happy Girl Kitchen

Bruce and I got a little carried away at the Live Earth Farm Harvest Festival and Apple U-Pick yesterday. Although we were hot and tired by the time we walked all the way to the orchard, we picked 11 lbs. in just a few minutes. This is about twice the number I’d planned to pick--since our apple tree at home is still bearing large if less numerous fruit. In the US, apples will never taste fresher or cost less than they do right now. So let’s celebrate apple season by noshing as many as we like for snacks, then making apple goodies with the rest!

Mason Jar of Apple Cider
Only One Recipe Ingredient
At the harvest festival we pressed some apples into cider, and tasted the results of our labor. Happy Girl Kitchen says that you can do this at home by grinding up whole apples in the food processor, then squeezing out the liquid by hand using flour sack cloth. This sounded like a lot of work, so we took home some of HG’s cider instead, bottled yesterday on the Farm.

I had read that there would be Apple Syrup making demonstrations at the Festival, and I couldn’t imagine what that was. No one really seemed to know much about it, and plans had changed from making apple syrup to bottling cider in the LEF kitchen. Bruce and I speculated with the Happy Girl staff, and we concurred that Apple Syrup must simply be apple cider that is reduced to ¼ volume by boiling. This afternoon I tested the theory and it proved correct!

Apple Cider in Saucepan Starting to Thicken
Apple Cider Starting to Thicken
I served the apple syrup with apple pancakes (recipe tomorrow), but syrup would also be good to glaze vegetables or meat while roasting in the oven. Seems like you could swirl some into oatmeal, or add some to dry soaked beans before baking them. I might even dip apples slices in syrup for an apple-on-apple treat.

Apple Syrup
makes ½ cup

2 cups organic apple cider

Measure cider into small no-stick saucepan. Bring to boil. Turn heat to medium high to keep cider at a fast simmer until it starts to thicken. This took about ½ hour, but be sure to check it every 5 – 10 minutes to stir down evaporated liquid from side of pan (I used a heatproof basting brush), and to check liquid’s thickness.

Apple Syrup in Saucepan with Big Bubbles
Apple Cider is Now Apple Syrup
When it looks like there are more bubbles, the liquid is getting thicker. Check the volume in a liquid measuring cup to see how close you are to ½ cup. If not quite there, return liquid to saucepan and simmer on medium low. Check volume again in 5 minutes. Repeat if necessary.

Get creative in the ways that you enjoy your apple syrup! I invite you to post your discoveries here.

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