Autumnal Bliss: Fall in Love with Cider, Clove, and Cinnamon's Warmth

Autumnal Bliss: Fall in Love with Cider, Clove, and Cinnamon's Warmth

Autumn is finally upon us, and there's nothing quite like curling up with a warm cup of cider on a crisp fall day. But did you ever wonder about the history of this beloved beverage, or about the health benefits of the spices that give it its signature flavor? In this article, we'll explore the fascinating world of cider and spices, from their ancient origins to modern-day uses. So grab a mug of your favorite apple-based brew, and let's dive in!

The History of Cider: From Ancient Times to Modern Day

Cider has been a beloved drink for thousands of years, with records of apple-based fermentations dating back to ancient cultures like the Romans and Greeks. In fact, it's said that some of the first apple orchards in North America were actually planted by colonists looking to make their own cider!

Today, cider has evolved far beyond its humble beginnings as a home-brewed alcohol. From crisp, dry European-style ciders to sweet, fruity American varieties, there's a cider out there for every taste and occasion. Best of all, many craft cider makers are using locally sourced, organic apples, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional beer and wine.

One interesting fact about cider is that it was once considered a safer alternative to water, which was often contaminated and could lead to illness. In fact, during the colonial era in America, cider was a staple drink for both adults and children, and was even used as a form of currency in some areas.

Another trend in modern cider making is the use of unique flavor combinations, such as adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg or incorporating other fruits like pears and berries. This experimentation has led to a wide range of creative and delicious ciders that are perfect for sipping on a hot summer day or pairing with a hearty fall meal.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon: Boosting Your Immune System and More

Cinnamon is one of the most beloved spices of the season, with a warming, slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with apples and other autumnal fruits. But did you know that cinnamon is also packed with health benefits? It's true! Studies have shown that cinnamon may help to lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system. Plus, it just smells amazing!

One of the lesser-known benefits of cinnamon is its potential to improve brain function. Research has shown that cinnamon can enhance cognitive processing, memory, and attention span. This is due to the presence of a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which has been found to increase the growth of new neurons in the brain.

In addition to its health benefits, cinnamon is also a versatile spice that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods for a delicious and healthy twist. So next time you're looking for a way to spice up your meals, consider reaching for the cinnamon!

Clove: A Spice with Healing Properties

Another spice that's popular in cider and other winter drinks is clove. This aromatic spice is known for its healing properties, including its ability to soothe sore throats and relieve pain and inflammation. In traditional medicine, clove has been used to treat everything from toothaches to digestive issues, making it a versatile addition to any autumnal pantry.

Clove is also a rich source of antioxidants, which can help protect the body against damage from free radicals. Additionally, studies have shown that clove may have antimicrobial properties, making it effective against certain types of bacteria and fungi. This makes it a great spice to use in cooking, not just for its flavor, but also for its potential health benefits.

How to Make Your Own Homemade Cider: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to try your hand at making your own cider? It's easier than you might think! Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Choose your apples. Look for varieties that are good for cooking and baking, such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Jonathan apples.
  2. Cut your apples into quarters or eighths. You can leave the skin and seeds on.
  3. Simmer the apples in a large pot with a cinnamon stick and some cloves for 30 minutes to an hour, or until they're soft and mushy.
  4. Strain the apple mixture through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve, pressing down to extract as much juice as possible.
  5. Let the juice cool, then pour it into a clean container or bottles and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Once you've mastered the basic recipe, you can experiment with different flavors and spices to create your own unique blends. Try adding ginger, nutmeg, or allspice for a warm, spicy flavor, or mix in some cranberry or pomegranate juice for a tart twist.

Don't be afraid to get creative with your cider-making process, either. You can use a juicer or a press to extract the juice from your apples, or even ferment the juice to create hard cider. The possibilities are endless!

5 Delicious Cider Cocktails to Warm You Up this Autumn

If you're tired of drinking plain old cider, why not mix things up with a festive cocktail? Here are five of our favorite recipes to try:

  • Spiced Peach Cider: Mix apple cider with peach schnapps, a splash of lemon juice, and a cinnamon stick for a fruity twist on a classic.
  • Cider Hot Toddy: Add a shot of bourbon or whisky to hot cider, and stir in a tablespoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon for a cozy nightcap.
  • Cider Sangria: Combine apple cider with red wine, sliced oranges and apples, a splash of brandy, and a cinnamon stick for a seasonal take on a Spanish classic.
  • Cider Margarita: Swap out the tequila for hard cider in your favorite margarita recipe, and garnish with a cinnamon-sugar rim for a spicy kick.
  • Cider Moscow Mule: Mix ginger beer, vodka, and apple cider in a copper mug, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary for a festive fall twist on a classic cocktail.

But why stop at just five cider cocktails? There are so many other delicious combinations to try! For example, you could mix apple cider with spiced rum and a splash of orange juice for a cozy and citrusy drink. Or, try adding a shot of espresso to hot cider for a warm and energizing pick-me-up.

If you're feeling adventurous, you could even experiment with adding different spices and herbs to your cider cocktails. Try adding a pinch of nutmeg or allspice to your spiced peach cider, or garnishing your cider margarita with a sprig of thyme instead of rosemary.

The Best Apple Varieties for Making Cider

Not all apples are created equal when it comes to cider making. Here are a few of the best types of apples to look for:

  • Granny Smith: These tart apples add a crisp, refreshing flavor to a batch of cider.
  • Honeycrisp: Known for their sweet, juicy flesh, these apples are great for adding natural sugar to your brew.
  • Golden Delicious: These apples have a mellow flavor that pairs well with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Jonathan: These old-fashioned apples may be hard to find, but their slightly tart flavor is perfect for making traditional American-style cider.

When selecting apples for cider making, it's important to consider the tannin content. Tannins are compounds found in the skin and seeds of apples that add complexity and depth to the flavor of the cider. Some apple varieties, like the bittersweet Dabinett or the bitter Bramley, are high in tannins and are ideal for cider making.

Another factor to consider is the acidity level of the apples. Apples with high acidity, like the Kingston Black or the Yarlington Mill, can add a bright, tangy flavor to the cider. On the other hand, low-acid apples like the Cox's Orange Pippin or the Ashmead's Kernel can create a smoother, more mellow cider.

Creative Uses for Cinnamon in the Kitchen and Beyond

Looking to add a little cinnamon to your life beyond your morning latte? Here are a few creative uses for this versatile spice:

  • Mix cinnamon into your favorite pancake or waffle batter for a seasonal twist on breakfast.
  • Stir a sprinkle of cinnamon into your favorite nut butter or jam for a sweet and spicy spread.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to your smoothie or protein shake for a post-workout boost.
  • Simmer cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot of water on the stove for a natural air freshener.

Cinnamon is not only a delicious spice, but it also has some surprising health benefits. Studies have shown that cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. So, adding a little cinnamon to your meals can not only make them taste better but also make them healthier.

If you're feeling adventurous, try using cinnamon in savory dishes. It pairs well with chicken, pork, and even vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on roasted nuts or popcorn for a tasty snack.

The Science of Spices: How They Affect the Body and Mind

But why are spices like cinnamon and clove so appealing to our taste buds and our noses? It turns out that the compounds found in these spices have a powerful effect on both our bodies and our brains. For example, studies have shown that the scent of cinnamon can improve cognitive function and memory, while the eugenol in clove has potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Additionally, spices like turmeric and ginger have been found to have anti-cancer properties. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation in the body. Ginger, on the other hand, contains gingerol, which has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may help prevent cancer.

Exploring the World of Pumpkin Spice: More Than Just a Trend

Finally, no discussion of autumnal spices would be complete without mentioning the ubiquitous flavor of pumpkin spice. From lattes to candles to pasta sauce, pumpkin spice seems to be everywhere these days. But did you know that this blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice has been around for centuries? Plus, each spice in the pumpkin spice blend has its own unique health benefits, making it a delicious and nutritious addition to many dishes.

So next time you're sipping on a cup of spiced cider or indulging in a pumpkin spice treat, remember that these beloved autumnal flavors are more than just delicious – they're also rich in history and packed with health benefits. Happy autumn!

One interesting fact about pumpkin spice is that it was originally used in savory dishes, rather than sweet treats. In fact, the blend was commonly used in meat dishes in medieval Europe, where it was believed to help balance the humors and aid in digestion. It wasn't until the 20th century that pumpkin spice became associated with sweet treats like pumpkin pie and lattes.


© Brave in Bloom, 2023