Have you ever heard of Boiled Cider? Also known as Apple Molasses, this is an old, old New England specialty that was used in place of sugar, honey and molasses back in the days when such things were costly and hard to come by. The boiled cider would keep in a cool environment such as a basement far longer then regular cider, and would not go “hard” (aka alcoholic). It was used both as a sweetener and as a sort of apple cider concentrate to which water could be added for a refreshing drink.
I read about Boiled Cider last year at the Wizbang Cider website–I am fascinated by old food preservation techniques and couldn’t wait to try it myself.
The process might take a bit of time, but it is super simple. You just pour apple cider in a pot and boil it down. That’s it! You are looking for about a 7:1 ratio when you are done.
I started boiling my cider at 7:46 in the morning and finished at 10:02. So it took roughly 2 hours 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure how long the process would take, and I didn’t want to burn it, so I monitored it the whole time. Basically it boiled without really needing to be stirred for most of the process (as you can see in the first two photos on the right in the picture above), then suddenly at the end it started foaming (the third photo)–I boiled it at that point for just a little longer, maybe 15-20 min, testing it by putting a bit into the fridge in a small bowl to see if it had really turned into syrup.
In the future I think I’d just do the hard boil for about an hour and a half or so, then toss it into my crockpot with the lid off overnight and let the machine do my work for me while I’m sleeping 🙂
The gallon of store bought apple cider made just over 1 1/2 cups of boiled cider.
This stuff is thick, really thick and gooey. Just like regular molasses! You can see in the shot above how well it stuck to the plate. Once I refrigerated it (the safest way to store it), it was almost solid and I had to warm it up a bit in order to drizzle it over my Apple Bread Pudding.
So what does it taste like? It’s sweet, but very tart. Think of it as the essence of apple cider and you’ll be imagining something close! A little bit goes a long way–you probably wouldn’t want to just take a big old spoonful of the stuff straight. It is great drizzled over any dessert that needs a shot of pure apple–like my apple bread pudding. It could be dissolved into some tea or hot water for a drink, added to baked beans for flavor, or used in baked goods–basically anywhere you’d use molasses you can try Boiled Cider instead.
There are even recipes out there for Boiled Cider Pie.