Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Recipe: spiced apple cordial: frugal

This is a really easy recipe which makes a deliciously mulled non-alcoholic drink that can be made hot or cold.
It can be made using windfalls although if there's too much bruising or other bad bits you might need to add a few more.  It's a very forgiving recipe so amounts can vary according to taste.

If you are able to use windfalls or have, in some other way, a free supply of apples as I did plus a range of 'sweet' spices in the cupboard, it is also a very frugal recipe.

Around 1 kg apples, cooking and eating, providing the eaters have a good, strong flavour
1/2 stick of cinnamon or less
one star anise
a few cloves (I had to use a pinch of ground cloves)
some grated nutmeg
five or six juniper berries
a small piece of root ginger, bruised with the flat of a knife (or lazy ginger would do).  Ground ginger would give a different flavour but would be nice all the same.
2 litres of water
About 1k of granulated sugar.  I used less because the eating apples imparted sweetness but if you used all cookers you might need more.  Taste and see.

You will also need a large, solid bottomed pan, a jelly bag or a muslin in a colander and suitable bottles for storing the cordial - sterilised screw topped wine bottles would be fine.

Wash the apples.  Cut any bad bits out and roughly chop the rest
Place the apples in a pan with the spices and water.
Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about half an hour, until the apples are all soft.  Turn off the heat, cover and allow to steep overnight.
Mash up the apples and then strain through a jelly bag or a muslin in a colander.  Allow it to drip through for a while, covered.  I left mine all day.
(Don't throw away the pulp.  Strain it through a mouli or a sieve and use it for apple sauce, apple and cranberry sauce or whatever.  It will freeze.)
Put the liquid back into the clean pan and add around 750g granulated sugar.  Slowly reheat, stirring now and again, so the sugar dissolves.  Taste and add sugar as needed for own taste.  Bring to a boil and simmer well for around ten minutes or so.
Then decant into hot, sterilised bottles or jars.

When cooled, this keeps well in the fridge.  I am told it will last a year but mine never lasts that long!

To use, dilute with hot or boiling water, or add ice cubes and cold water.  It makes a refreshing drink with sparkling water.
It can be added to hot red wine or cider to make a spicy punch, adding fruit (apple and orange slices, grapes, etc) to the mixture.

I've never tried this but I gather you can use other fruit instead of some of the apples, such as plums or oranges.

In pretty bottles, this makes a lovely gift.

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