giving: boiled apple cider syrup

November 19, 2012

apple cider - reading my tea leavesDuring the holidays, and always, it’s nice to arrive to a place you’ve been invited to with a little something extra for your host. It should be known that I don’t always manage to follow my own advice with this one, but I do try, I promise. It should also be known that I refuse to call these little tokens hostess gifts. The name is so old-fashioned that it should be scratched right out of Webster’s. You have my permission to deface your dictionary. apple cider - reading my tea leaves This gift takes a little more planning and time than the mulling spices that I put together last year, but the result is delicious and inspired, and dare I say, better. Reserve this one for someone really special.
boiled apple cider syrup - reading my tea leaves The concept behind boiled apple cider syrup is about as simple as it sounds. Boil your apple cider down until it becomes thick and syrupy. You’ll need a few solid hours at home to make a batch, but the good news is that the simmering cider can be left largely unattended. If you put on a pot when you return home from work in the evening, it should be ready by the time you head off to bed, with only a few stirs in between. boiled apple cider syrup - reading my tea leaves Once my cider had thickened to syrup, I strained it through a sieve to trap any solid pieces. A tiny funnel helped me to fill a small glass bottle that I’d sterilized in a pot of boiling water. boiled apple cider syrup - reading my tea leaves Aside from the robust taste, the best part about this gift (in the eyes of this history-lover at least) is boiled apple cider syrup’s place in the annals of history. Emily Horton’s piece on the subject is a delightful and quick read. Make this and you’ll have done your part to revive a classic American culinary tradition (go Pats)!
boiled apple cider syrup - reading my tea leaves Once you’ve bottled your syrup, make a little tag for your bottle and tie it up with a bit of ribbon and a cinnamon stick for merry-making. Encourage your friends to drizzle this tart syrup into sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts, pie crust and hot toddies. boiled apple cider syrup - reading my tea leaves The stuff’s so good that if you have a large enough pot, you might consider boiling down a whole gallon and keeping some for yourself. Kept refrigerated, the syrup could last until next Thanksgiving. I have a hunch it’ll be polished off long before that. boiled apple cider syrup - reading my tea leaves

Boiled Apple Cider Syrup
Recipe adapted from this one in the Washington Post.

1 1/2 gallon apple cider

1. Pour apple cider into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the cider to boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 2-3 hours or until it has reduced to about 1 cup. Don’t fear: it will take a long time for the cider to turn syrupy. I was convinced mine would just disappear rather than thicken, until finally, thicken it did. Persevere!

3. Once cider has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, pour through a sieve to strain any solid bits. (The original recipe didn’t mention this step, but I had lots of little floating bits in mine and wanted them out)! Transfer syrup to a sterilized jar. Syrup is ready to use right away and will store indefinitely if refrigerated.

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  • Reply Wendy November 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I cannot wait to try this! And the packaging is lovely!

  • Reply Things That Can Fly November 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I'd never heard of this before, but now I will have to try to make my own!
    And yes, agree with Wendy – the packaging is great!

  • Reply Jacquelyn | lark&linen November 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    SUCH a great hostess gift (I kid – I too hate that word)
    But for real – this is fantastic

  • Reply little kitchie November 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    what a gorgeous gift! i would love to receive this!! 🙂

  • Reply Abby November 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Such a fun gift! I'm saving the apple butter I made a few weeks ago to give as holiday gifts. I love your packaging, by the way–do you use stamps to make the labels?

    • Reply Erin November 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Yes! Tiny little stamps. You can actually see a shot of them in my last week in objects post!

  • Reply Linda Zimmerman November 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I have never heard of boiled apple cider syrup…it sounds divine! Thank you for sharing this recipe…back to Bishops!

  • Reply Erin November 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    so glad you guys like it! you'll have to report back after you've made some!

  • Reply jodi November 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Perfect timing, Erin. My sweets overdid it picking apples this fall and they are beginning to go. I think I'll run them through my juicer and give this cider syrup a try… thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply Erin November 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      hi there, jodi! i'm not sure how this will turn out with regular old apple juice! let me know if you find out anything about how that works!

    • Reply jodi November 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Erin, just wanted to report back to you about my experiment. My juicer makes very cidery looking apple juice, cloudy and dark, which is why I thought it might work out for me. I'm happy to say that I just finished cooking over a gallon (!) and it reduced down into the most incredible & flavorful elixir! I already added a bit to some delicata squash rounds I'm roasting for a savory galette & can see it will find its way into many, many things. Thanks again for the inspiration & Happy Thanksgiving to you + yours.

    • Reply Erin November 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      That is so great! I'm so excited that it worked out! A savory galette with delicata sounds delicious. Happiest Thanksgiving to you, too!

  • Reply Stephanie Roberts November 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    just out of curiosity, why do you hate "hostess gift"?

    • Reply Erin November 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      good question! i don't like the fact that it's a gendered term that refers only to women. in our house, and in the houses of most of our friends, hosting is a shared responsibility. too bad the term "host gifts" hasn't caught on!

    • Reply Stephanie Roberts November 20, 2012 at 6:11 am

      ahhh i see. i'm a little dense sometimes 🙂 makes total sense. i agree with crossing out the "ess" from hostess then!

  • Reply Daniella C November 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    This. Is. Awesome. As if I needed a reason to make Fall's apple cider last even longer! This is great.

  • Reply Harri Davison November 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Amazing recipe, this would make for great gifts around Christmas x

  • Reply Sharna November 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    This sounds amazing! I've made apple cider caramel before but this would be much healthier (maybe). Thanks!


    • Reply Erin November 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      apple cider caramel sounds amazing!

  • Reply Alice November 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    This looks delicious. But I don't know if I could bring myself to give it away! x

  • Reply Lucent Imagery November 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Your presentation of this gift is just stunning! I'm getting jars this week for my festive season food gifts to go in. I'm thinking of making pesto and guacamole for summer pasta salads and corn chip dips on our hot summer days.

  • Reply The Hedgehog Chronicles November 20, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Love this cant wait to try it… i dont know what i look forward to more, the apple cider syrup or an excuse to stay home for a few hours!!

  • Reply Jess November 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I wonder if this would be possible in a crock pot, as well? I inherited my granny's 1970's crock pot, which is actually set up to be a vessel on top of a hot plate – and believe it or not, that thing cranks out some heat! I plan on trying it out tomorrow without the lid fully secured on top. Will let you know how it goes!

  • Reply Tim November 21, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Hey there,

    Would you consider boiling the cider with mulling spices to maked a mulled apple cider syrup? I think that's what I'm going to go for… What do you think?!

    • Reply Erin November 21, 2012 at 12:28 am

      hey, buddy! that sounds AMAZING. i don't think it'll do anything terrible and will likely be awesome! do it & report back!

  • Reply Valerie November 30, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I was wondering how much a 1/2 gallon makes? Just the one bottle you show? I definitely will be making this as gift for the holiday season and need to know how much apple cider I will need for all of them. Thanks for inspiration! 🙂

  • Reply Erin November 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Valerie! A 1/2 gallon yields about 8 oz (1 cup)–which was exactly right for my little bottle! Good luck!

  • Reply Jamie December 1, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I wonder if this will work with apple juice. I've searched high and low, and they just don't sell apple cider where I live (Japan).

  • Reply Dork Chocolate December 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I have 1.5 gallons simmering away right now, although I did add the juice of eight clementines I had sitting around. Once it starts reducing, I'll check it again to see what else it needs. This will be absolutely perfect for a care package I'm sending a friend who moved away to New York. She loves this sort of thing, and I enjoy getting her things she loves (not that having some put aside for myself won't be nice too).

  • Reply Scott Hansen December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Erin, Thanks for the great idea! May I ask where you got your bottles?

    • Reply Erin December 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      Hi Scott! I got that bottle at a local kitchen shop called Cook's Companion. I'd suspect you might be able to find something similar at most kitchen shops! Good luck!

  • Reply Elisha Moffitt December 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Such a great gift idea, thank you for the inspiration! I have a question about refrigeration. I want to ship a couple bottles home to family. Do you think it will keep for the 4-5 days shipping time or does it require constant refrigeration? I'm really hoping it has a "shelf life"! Thanks again!

    • Reply Erin December 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      Hmm! Good question. Can't say I've tried leaving it out of the fridge, so I don't have a very good answer. Are you in a chilly spot? Maybe a few days in the back of an unheated truck wouldn't be so bad? That being said, I once bit into a very rotten bit of banana bread that had been delayed in its delivery. After that experience, I've been less brave about shipping perishables!

  • Reply Jessica December 13, 2012 at 5:04 am

    This looks so lovely, but what do you do with it?

    • Reply Erin December 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      I suggest drizzling it on roasted veggies, incorporating it into pie crusts and using it in holiday cocktails! It's tart and delicious.

  • Reply Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I just tried making this and within one hour all of the cider was gone and a little burned foam was all that remained in the pot.
    Maybe med-low should really be: very low flame.

    • Reply Erin December 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      oh darn it! i didn't have any trouble with medium-low, but all stoves are different! the cider should definitely only be simmering after it's reached the initial boil. so sorry to hear that you had trouble–must be so disappointing!

    • Reply Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      thanks– I tried again with a lower flame and had some success this time. Although the consistency is more jam-like than liquidy syrup…oh well, still tastes good!

    • Reply Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      I believe Icooked it a bit too long mine turned into jelly!! But it is delicious!!

  • Reply Kate Etue December 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    These are so pretty! Where did you get the bottles, ribbon, and stamps/stickers?

  • Reply penlr December 17, 2015 at 10:04 am

    these images are absolutely lovely thanks for sharing wow!

  • Reply Ana November 22, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you! I must have looked at a dozen recipes for this and none of them said how long the syrup lasts. Thanks for being good at what you do! This looks delicious and now I’m not afraid to try it.

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