Spiced Hard Cider Jelly and Syrup

May 30, 2012

I make more hard cider than I consume. As a result, I have some stuff in my cellar that I’ve kind of been avoiding drinking. It isn’t that it is really all that bad, but there is better stuff out there for me to be drinking. Recently, however, I’ve kind of needed the space and the bottles for my new batches of cider, so I was pondering what to do with that old cider. What I really wanted to do was make apple brandy, but due to logistics, I can’t. One of Burtle’s cousins suggested to me boiling it down and making syrup with it. At first I wasn’t sure, but then I got to thinking that anything “wrong” with the cider would be covered up with sugar and spices, and it seemed like I had a solution!

I started looking around on the internet, and I came across blogger theKitchn writing about making syrup out of leftover wine, with a link to another post on making wine jelly. That blog was using a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen on making wine jelly, which you do have to create a free account in order to view the recipe. It was their recipe and directions that I followed.

However, they all seemed to have a “flaw” to me: they were missing spice. The first batch I did was some jelly, in which I put in two cinnamon sticks and then a teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. The color was indicating to me that I had added too much! I wanted to add more cider and pectin to dilute the spices down, but I realized I didn’t have enough sugar to get the jelly to set properly, so I left it as it was.Instead, with the two cups of sugar I had left, I set a whole bottle of cider to be cooked down with the sugar, two cinnamon sticks, and a quarter teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, and that batch was about perfect for spice. However, for syrup, I found it to be a bit too sweet, though others may disagree. It was really good on pancakes!

I don’t have that many pint jars on hand to properly can the jelly, so I put it in plastic freezer “jars.” The recipe said it should set after 12-24 hours, but after 24 hours, it was still pretty runny and I put it in the fridge at this point. It probably took 72 hours for it to gel. There could be three reasons for this. First, I did goof slightly in the order of adding the pectin vs the lemon juice. Secondly, I was using powdered pectin instead of the liquid pectin the recipe called for. Last of all, I pretty much always use pectic enzyme in all my cider/winemaking batches, which helps make the product clearer by reducing the pectic haze. What this also does it prevent the juice from turning to jelly naturally, so this pectic enzyme could have actually been blocking the pectin!

So at the end of the day, my recommendation for making a spiced cider jelly is to follow the America’s Test Kitchen on making wine jelly with two sticks of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

My recommendation for making spiced cider syrup is to take a bottle of cider and let it simmer with two sticks of cinnamon on medium high heat for at least 30 minutes to cook it down. Then add about 1 ½ cups of sugar and ¼ teaspoon each of cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Reduce the heat further and ladle some of the syrup off to combine with corn starch if you desire it to be thicker.

Remember, with all this cooking, the alcohol has probably been boiled completely off.

Further Readings:


One Response to “Spiced Hard Cider Jelly and Syrup”

  1. […] mentioned that I needed to work the amount of cider in my cellar down , including the things I had bought commercially, so I decided to have a cider and cheese party at […]

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