Apple, Clementine, Cranberry Cider.

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Ingredients: Organic gala apples, organic cranberries, organic clementines, apple mint, crystallized ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, star anise.

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Begin by prepping the fruit!

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Thinly slice the apples, leaving on their skins (packed with nutrients!) Chopping the apples into small pieces allows them to cook more quickly, at the same time as the cranberries and chopped clementines.

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Slice the clementines into quarters. Leave the peel on, which contains the aromatic essential oils that provide plenty of flavour.

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Leave the cranberries whole.

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Place all the ingredients in a big pot.

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Grate a little nutmeg into the mix.

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Fill the pot with hot (boiled) water, allowing the fruit to be submerged completely. For this quantity of fruit I used 1.7 litres of water.

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Bring the water up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the flavours meld for 20-30 minutes – leaving the pot covered.

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Once the fruit & spices have infused, strain the solids using a colander or strainer.

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In a clean tea towel or cheese cloth, strain the residual liquid from the fruit.

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Tear some whole mint leaves to add for garnish – regular mint works too!

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Ladle the colourful cider into glasses or jars. Garnish with a few fresh apple slices, a stick of cinnamon, and pop of mint. The warmth from the drink will steam the mint slightly – releasing more of its fresh aroma!

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ENJOY!

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This warming cider can be enjoyed by the whole family! It is non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, as well as free of added sugar. The combination of nutritious, antioxidant-rich fruit, and health-giving spices, makes this beverage both delicious and immune supporting – a wonderful winter drink!

Cranberries are a source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Manganese, and fiber. Cranberries are known for helping prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), as a result of the fruits acidity and its unique proanthocyanidins (PACs), which acts as a barrier to bacteria that might otherwise latch on to the urinary tract lining. Stomach ulcers are often related to overgrowth of stomach bacteria (Helicobacter pylori) in the stomach lining, and some research shows that cranberries may help protect the stomach lining in the same way as the urinary tract.

Cinnamon is a sweet, warming spice (a wonderful winter ingredient!), that has been used medicinally for centuries. Cinnamon is a source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium, vitamin A, B Vitamins, and flavonoid antioxidants like carotenes. This spice is believed to have anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, and digestive supportive properties. It also contains eugenol essential oil, which has traditionally been used as a local-anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum. It is said that Cinnamaldehyde, another essential oil found in cinnamon sticks, helps prevent the blood vessels from being clogged, thereby lowering risk of stroke and heart disease. Cinnamon is also good for digestion and other gastrointestinal issues.

Clementines are a source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium and fiber. Clementines, as with all citrus fruit, are lower in sugar (lower glycemic/GI) relative to other fruits. The apples and cranberries used in this recipe are also on the lower end of the Glycemic index when it comes to fruit.

Ginger is commonly used to gastrointestinal issues like nausea, upset stomach and loss of appetite. Other uses include pain relief from arthritis or muscle soreness, menstrual pain, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis. Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory, and can also be used topically to relieve muscle pain or even to treat burns. The main anti-inflammatory substance in ginger is called Gingerol, which has been linked to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

Chinese Star Anise (as opposed to Japanese star anise which is poisonous) is said to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral activity.Traditionally this seed is used for treating respiratory tract infections, cough, bronchitis, and the flu. In fact, star anise is the major source of the chemical compound shikimic acid, a precursor in the pharmaceutical synthesis of anti-influenza drug Tamiflu. It can also be used to treat indigestion, loss of appetite, and colic in babies.

Recipe Review

1. Prep the fruit: Wash the fruit well. Cut the apples thinly using a mandoline or knife. Chop the clementine’s into quarters, leaving the peels and keep the cranberries whole.

2. Place the fruit in a big, deep pot. Toss in 5-6 small cinnamon sticks, 3 small star anise, and 1/4 cup candied ginger cubes. Grate in a little nutmeg. Add about 1.5 litres of hot boiled water to the pot, just enough to cover the ingredients by an inch or two. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 min covered.

3. Turn off the heat and let the fruit and spices infuse for another 20-30 minutes – covered. Taste and adjust for your taste. If you prefer sweeter drinks, add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup.

4. Pick out the cinnamon sticks and star anise and strain the ingredients using a colander/ strainer, emptying the liquid into a large bowl. Using a ladle, mash the fruit to release their juices.

5. Strain out the juices from the fruit further by using a fine, clean dishtowel/cheesecloth. Pour the cider into glasses or small jars and garnish with cinnamon stick, a few sliced apples, and sprig of apple mint. Enjoy!

TIP: Don’t toss away the leftover cooked fruit pulp! pulse in a food processor or blender with maple syrup to taste, and enjoy as a ‘compote’! eaten at breakfast, as a snack or healthy dessert! Top it with toasted nuts & seeds or granola.

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