Holiday Giving: Apple Cider Syrup

apple cider syrup

When I was growing up, the Bybee-Howell House on Sauvie Island (just outside of Portland, Oregon) held a Wintering In festival each fall. For me, the highlight of this event was the fact that they gathered all the apples from the adjacent orchard and pressed them into cider in front of our eyes. I’ve had a deep love for the flavor of fresh cider ever since.

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to capture that fresh apple cider flavor in a preserve*. The idea of an apple cider syrup seemed particularly appealing, because it would be so flexible. I even tried to make it about a month ago, but cooked it right up to the set point and ended up with jelly instead. It was tasty, but not what I was going for.

apple cider

This weekend I tried again. I picked up a gallon of fresh cider from my local farmers market, brought it home and poured it into a big pot. I added three cinnamon sticks and brought it to a boil. Once it was bubbling madly, I lowered the temperature a bit and let the cider cook down while I cleaned the kitchen and started a batch of soup.

It simmered for about an hour, until it was reduced by a little more than half. At that point, I removed the cinnamon sticks and added two cups of granulated white sugar. I stirred the sugar in until it was dissolved and continued to cook for another ten minutes or so. At this point, I began to monitor the temperature of the cider. Once it reached 218 degrees, the syrup was done (remember, the set point of jelly is 220 degrees, so if you want something to remain a syrup, you have to stop short of that temperature).

214

Once it was done, I was left with a generous 6 cups of syrup. I funneled it into an assortment of prepared jars and processed them in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Now, you may be asking yourself, what does one do with several pints of apple cider syrup? My favorite way to use it is as a base for a quick mug of warm cider. Simply spoon some of the syrup (I like three tablespoons worth, but your tastes may vary) into the bottom of a heatproof mug and top with boiling water. It’s a great treat on a cold winter night.

You can also use it as a pancake syrup, which is a very nice way to go. If you find it a little too thin, just add a small amount of cornstarch to thicken just before serving (don’t add cornstarch prior to canning, it doesn’t hold up). I don’t mind it the way it is, but again, tastes vary.

It would also be good drizzled over cake that needs a bit of moisture or stirred into hot cereal. I haven’t tried it yet, but I also imagine it would be very good in a warm brandy drink. Just a thought.

How would you use an apple cider syrup?

*There’s a mulled cider jelly in my cookbook that’s pretty darn good, but of course, I can’t share that one with you quite yet.

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97 Responses to Holiday Giving: Apple Cider Syrup

  1. 51

    [...] recipes for this project on line.  Probably the best, but not the one I used today would be at Food In Jars so I’ll leave the canning process up to the post there for all the details but it’s not [...]

  2. 52

    [...] I wanted to make something amazing. I chose to make a few batches of my Salted Caramel Bars and several jars ofApple Cider Syrup per Marisa’s blog – Food in Jars. [...]

  3. 53
    Angie Smith says:

    Thanks for the great recipes! I just finished a batch of the Apple Cider Syrup, I made the Cider Jelly yesterday, they were so easy to make. Do you mind if I post it and credit you in my blog? My sister and I love sharing recipes like yours that are simple and delicious!

    Angie and Tammi
    naturalhomemadeliving.blogspot.com

    • 53.1
      Marisa says:

      Angie, if you post the recipe to our blog, I ask that you rewrite it using your own words and descriptions. If you were planning on posting it verbatim, I’d prefer that you link to it.

  4. 54
    Sheri says:

    Marisa: Do you think that pasturized apple cider would be OK to use? I can’t find anything else locally and was wondering if that would work . . . . .

  5. 55
    Need to try again? says:

    I tried making this with pasteurized apple cider last night, noticed a (perhaps superficial, but unattractive?) problem that I think is may be related to the pasteurization, but I’m not sure so I thought I’d bring it up here. My jars had a cloudy haze of pectin swirling around inside after processing, which settled with cooling. At least in the pictures above, your syrup does not seem to suffer from this.

    According to this site, when you exceed 175°F (give or take depending on the variety and condition of the apple) the pectin in the cider denatures and drops out of suspension. This results in a juice that is almost clarified on top but has a thick “cloud” of formerly suspended solids on the bottom [of the jug of cider].” I shook up the cider before reducing, of course, but these solids remained in the syrup.

    Now, even if the cider started unpasteurized, we are going past 175 degrees in making the syrup… but the cider is not remaining a liquid, so a haze shouldn’t be able to separate and form a cloud. I don’t necessarily need to get rid of the haze; either evenly distributed or totally settled solids might be ok, but anything in between looks kind of gross.

    I started with 2L of cider and ended up with just under 1L at the end, so I’m thinking I also didn’t reduce it quite enough (I did reduce by half before adding a bit more than 1 cup of sugar, but it was hard to tell if I hit 218 degrees because it was bubbling so much I couldn’t get an accurate reading). The consistency is a bit thin for my liking.

    Anyway, sorry for the long comment! Any thoughts?

    • 55.1
      Need to try again? says:

      Oops, when I said “but the cider is not remaining a liquid” above I meant “but the cider is not remaining as *thin* a liquid”.

    • 55.2
      Success, sort-of says:

      I reduced my first batch further, and although the haze remains the consistency improved and the flavour of the hot drink it produced was very good. I’m going to experiment with a second batch, and probably can using jars with a diamond pattern (rather than smooth glass) if possible so it looks more attractive in case I want to give any to others.

      Thanks so much for this recipe. It’ll be great to have hot cider ready in the cupboard or fridge this winter (and beyond).

    • 55.3
      Sheri says:

      I had the same experience – the taste was great but it did end up looking a bit like a science experiment with the weird cloud at the bottom. I was planning on keeping them all for myself anyway and that is a great excuse not to share :)
      I think it is related to the pasturization process because mine did fully reduce to under half . . . .

      • Heather says:

        I use locally produced, unpasteurized cider, and get the cloudy sediment, too. (Though it doesn’t bother me.)

  6. 56

    [...] My So-Called Modern Life. This is one of my favorite things to make when cider is in the markets. A few jars in the pantry means that a mug of hot cider is never far [...]

  7. 57
    Peggy says:

    Woo hoo! We have a gallon of cider in the fridge and a house full of teenagers lamenting the end of the hot cider season… Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Now I can make up a batch of cider syrup and we will be stocked for hot cider all winter long!!

  8. 58

    [...] followed the instructions on food in jars.  All you need is a gallon of unpasteurized apple cider, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups of sugar. [...]

  9. 59
    Michelle says:

    So..both of my batches, despite 2.5 hours of simmering…is still really, really thin…after a 10 minute water bath, still thin as juice. I thought it might set up, but didn’t. Being new to canning…can I just leave it in the jars? They have sealed and pinged…so can I just store them or do I need to dump it down the sink? I figure it is probably just so sweet apple cider now. Thanks for any advice!

  10. 60
    Kyna says:

    i’m really excited to try this recipe but i was thinking of adding a bit of bourbon to it…do you think i’d still be able to process the syrup? if so, how much bourbon would you recommend adding? 1/4 cup?

  11. 61
    Patty says:

    Do you have any ideas on what to do with left over juice from my crockpot apple butter? I normally dont have too much juice but these apple were so juicy. Just don’t want to throw it out…taste too good. I was thinking either syrup or jelly????
    Thanks

  12. 62
    Jennifer says:

    Help! I followed the directions exactly and my syrup is very watery. I canned all these jars that I planned to use for gifts. Is there anything I can do to make it thicker? Add some corn syrup and re-can and water bath? Help!!

    Thanks! Jennifer

    • 62.1
      Marisa says:

      Jennifer, the only way this pie filling could possibly not have thickened is if you didn’t use Clear Jel. That stuff thickens immediately upon combination with liquid. I honestly don’t know how you would save unthickened pie filling.

      • Jennifer says:

        Well I was attempting to make the apple cider syrup. Is it safe to empty all the jars I WB and reheat? Will it thicken more with the sugar? I hate to waste it all but it’s pretty much like apple juice consistency now. Thanks!

        • Philisha says:

          I’m looking for the response to this last entry Oct 17.
          I too spent 2 hrs preparing this and ended up with watery apple cider syrup
          in jars. Can I dump it all back into a pot and thicken it up… maybe I didnt
          get it hot enough (218*) ?

          • Marisa says:

            Yes, you can pour it back into the pot and cook it longer. Do know that it’s not going to be thicken like pancake syrup. It should have the thickness of the syrup they use to flavor coffee.

  13. 63
    Jennifer's says:

    Thanks so much! I will be redoing everything tonight! Fingers crossed!

  14. 64

    […] Molasses“, “Apple Cider Molasses“, “Boiled Apple Cider“, “Apple Cider Syrup” and even “Cider Jelly“. I’ve found the last name to be particularly […]

  15. 65
    Elli says:

    About how long will this last (be safe to consume) when I open one of the jars? Should I refrigerate it after opening it?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] My So-Called Modern Life. This is one of my favorite things to make when cider is in the markets. A few jars in the pantry means that a mug of hot cider is never far [...]

  6. Apple Cider Syrup | my so-called modern life - November 13, 2012

    [...] followed the instructions on food in jars.  All you need is a gallon of unpasteurized apple cider, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups of sugar. [...]

  7. Apple Cider Syrup | Accidentally Cooking - November 25, 2013

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