Our town's farmer's market ended last saturday, the weather is consistently below 70 degrees, the trees are leafless in the canyons, I haven't acknowledged my "garden" for over a week, and they have begun to play christmas music on the radio. not kidding. I especially love the view form our front window. The trees that border its frame are rich with yellow and golden leaves, and I have heard that if you listen very closely you can hear each leaf as it falls. I have had spices and citrus on the stove all week and have smiled each time someone comments on the comforting aroma. Even if winter is rumored to be "on our doorstep", I am enjoying every minute of my favorite season.
As for our weekend, we have a house guest for the week. So good times and a lot of good food is to be had. Speaking of, what do
This weekend, fill your home and senses with the aroma of autumn; apples, citrus and spice. today's zupas posts I am sharing a recipe for mulling spices and how to make mulled apple cider.
wishing you a happy and cozy weekend.
One of my favorite things to have after a chilly day is a hot mug of mulled cider. It is a quintessential cold weather drink and so good when paired with freshly pressed, unfiltered fruit cider. You can find a mulling spice mixture sold most everywhere, but I am willing to bet you already have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator already. In addition, this spice mixture makes for a beautiful and thoughtful gift during the holiday season. Just put the mixture into a pretty jar, tie with twine, string, or ribbon and add a personalized tag. Paired with a gallon of your favorite local cider, it would make anyone’s day.
mélange pour vin chaud, or mulling spices
peel of 1/2 an orange
1 inch knob of ginger
6 cinnamon sticks, crushed
20 allspice, whole
30 clove buds
1/2 a dried vanilla bean, broken into pieces (optional)
Slice the orange peel into thin strips, chop into small chunks. Peel the ginger, then slice it into thin coins, then strips, and lastly small chunks.
If you are planning to store the spice mixture, dry the orange peel and ginger pieces in a dehydrator, or in an oven on the lowest temperature with the door open a crack.
If you are using it right away there is no need to dry the peel and ginger.
Combine all the dried spices and store in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture for up to a year.
Use to make mulled wine or cider.
yield: about 1/4 cup of spices, enough to mull 2 quarts of drink.
You don’t have to break up the cinnamon sticks or vanilla bean. You can simply combine all the ingredients in a bit of cheesecloth, tie with twine or string and use immediately. Breaking them into smaller bits make it easier to measure out for small batches or individual satchels.
Mulled wine and cider are traditional autumn and winter drinks, since the days of the colonists, especially during the colder months. They have become a permanent and beloved part of the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and are easy to make since it involves only a mixture of spices, and some cider or wine. You don’t have to use only apple juice, you can use other juices typical of the season, pear, pomegranate, cranberry, or as the spice mixture’s name suggests, with a bottle of your favorite wine.
mulled apple cider
2 quarts freshly pressed apple cider, juice or wine
1/4 cup mulling spices (above)
With the spices in a large tea infuser, spice ball, or tied in cheesecloth, simmer the spices and cider together in a non-reactive saucepan (use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel) for about 20 minutes. Do not let the cider come to a boil.
Remove spices and serve warm with a cinnamon stick, preferably after a nice romp in the woods or snow, or perhaps after caroling?
try pear, blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate ciders or juices.
mix a variety of juices, and even mix some spirits with fruit juice.
A few good wines to mull include apple brandy, red and white wines, and mead.
Add a bit of sugar with the wine to taste. It is unnecessary with the apple juice because it is already sweet enough.
more tips on mulling wine at the end of this post, here, and here.