Making homemade apple cider is a fun fall activity for kids of all ages.
It’s easy to make your own apple cider at home, using things you probably already have on hand. Making apple cider is a fun fall activity because the kids can pick their own apples -- but you can make apple cider any time of year. Use sweet, ripe apples to make your cider naturally sweet so you don't have to add sugar. Cider is a healthful beverage that's typically popular with kiddos.
1Select your apples. Some good choices are Jonathan, Red and Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Victory, and York Imperial apples. For best results, use several varieties of apples in one batch of cider. One bushel of apples makes 2 to 3 gallons of cider.
2Wash the apples. Even toddlers can help with this task. Make sure to discard any leaves or other debris you find among the apples.
3Chop the apples. If you have an apple corer and divider, this job will go much faster. You don’t need to peel the apples before chopping them. Toddlers and preschoolers are too young to use knives safely, but they can put pieces of apple into a large pot as you chop them.
4Put the apple pieces, cores and stems and all, into a large pot with about 4 inches of water.
5Bring the water in the pot to a boil, and then reduce to medium heat. Cook until the apple pieces are very soft.
6Place a colander over a large pot and carefully pour the apple pieces and liquid from the cooking pot into the colander. The liquid will collect in the pot and the solid pieces will collect in the colander. If you prefer your apple juice filtered so that it is less cloudy and doesn’t have any fruit particles in it, line the colander with cheesecloth first. If you filter the juice through cheesecloth, pour the juice into the colander slowly because it will filter through the cheesecloth very slowly.
7Put the pot with the apple juice in it on the stove over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Add cinnamon to taste, if desired. If you selected sweet, ripe apples for your cider, you shouldn’t need to add any sugar, although you can if desired.
8Store apple cider in glass jugs or jars in the refrigerator or seal it in canning jars, using a water bath canner, for long-term storage.
Things You'll Need
- Ripe apples
- Sharp knife or apple corer and divider
- 2 large pots
- Cheesecloth, for filtered apple juice
- Cinnamon, if desired
- Glass jugs or jars