You can use any type of apples, but our favorite blend calls for plenty of pucker and sweetness.
Line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth and place it in a large bowl. Wash and core the apples, then cut each into 8 wedges, discarding bruised parts.
Working in batches, chop the apples in a food processor, about ten pulses. Scrape down the bowl. Process until pulpy, 1 minute. Transfer to colander.
Place a bowl on the apple pulp; add a weight (such as a large can of food) to help press out the cider. Let stand for 30 minutes. Remove top bowl, gather cloth and squeeze out the remaining cider.
Heat the cider over medium-high until a thermometer registers 160 degrees (don't boil it). This will eliminate any bacteria that were on the apple skins. Refrigerate for up to a week.
Apple Cider Donuts
Now, use the cider to make more festive goodies. These donuts are lighter than air and full of fall flavor. Tip: Thin the dough with 1/2 cup milk and you've got batter for fluffy cider pancakes, too!
Cider adds a faint sweetness to rich and creamy cheddar cheese. Tip: Fortify the fondue with a shot of brandy. Try calvados, an apple brandy.
Spread cider-flavored icing on your fall treats. Just whisk together 4 tbs. melted butter, 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar and 3 tbsp. cider. Spread on gingersnaps or drizzle over Bundt cake.
Here's the perfect salad topper. Combine 3 tbsp. cider and 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard. Whisk in 3 tbsp. EVOO. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small pan, heat 2 cups cider over medium-high until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 25 minutes. Brush on pork chops or pour over pancakes.
Faux Hard Cider
Mix 1/2 cup cider with 1/4 cup sparkling white wine. Then, fancy it up by serving the cocktails in champagne flutes.
Turn your apple pickings into other fall favorites, from apple pie to apple fritters!