One of my favorite things about autumn is heading to the Cider Mill. There's nothing like the promise of a wagon ride and with hot donuts to get the family up early. But it's the apple cider that really gets us going. Fresh and aromatic, it's like taking a drink of Mother Nature herself. We always get a gallon to take home, and over the years we've learned to love these favorite recipes.
Warm Orange-Spiced Cider (Makes four servings)
2 cups fresh, unfiltered apple cider
2 cups brewed orange-flavored black tea *
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
8 whole cloves
4 lemon wedges for garnish
1. Place all ingredients except the lemon wedges in heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and strain out cinnamon stick pieces and cloves. Discard.
3. Pour spiced cider into individual cups and garnish each with a lemon wedge.
* When preparing for children, you may choose to use decaffeinated tea.
Creamy Carrot and Apple Cider Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
2 cups water
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Sauté onions and carrots in oil until onions become translucent.
2. Add ginger, allspice, water and apple cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender.
3. Remove from heat, add cream and cool.
4. Working in two batches, puree mixture in a food processor until uniformly smooth.
5. Reheat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
With only about 120 calories and 7mg of sodium per one-cup serving, apple cider is a nutritious way to please my entire family, both as a warming fall drink or in savory suppers.
More from Cherri:Fresh Sweet Corn Chowder on a Cool Autumn Day