Here at the Vermont Evaporator Company, we’re a bit obsessed with all things syrup. We’re focused most of the year on Maple Syrup, but there are so many types of syrup to be excited about. We’ve written about our experiences making dandelion syrup and elderflower syrup before. We’ve also made mint syrup and rhubarb syrup in our home kitchens. But we still have a long list of other types of syrup we have yet to make! Our favorite type of syrup to make in the fall is apple cider syrup!
Apple Cider Syrup
Apple cider syrup, also called “boiled cider,” and “apple molasses” is a delightful treat! Once, it was a commonplace way to preserve apples and their nutrients throughout the long winter months in hill farms and homesteads across New England and westward. Now, apple cider syrup is completing the journey from a traditional pantry staple to a cultural artifact to a commercial commodity. It’s delicious. And, one of the best things about it is that anyone, anywhere can make it.
Apple Cider Syrup Origins
Food nerds can find out more about the rise and fall of apple cider syrup at Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. The culinarily curious can get a taste of some by visiting Woods Cider Mill online. And the rest of you need only know that you can make your own by pressing apples or buying cider, and boiling it down to about one-eighth of its volume. You can do this either in your kitchen or, for large quantities, your Sapling Evaporator or other backyard maple sugaring equipment.
How do you make Apple Cider Syrup?
Making apple cider syrup is easy to do! First get some apple cider, either by pressing your own or purchasing some. Then, bring the apple cider to a boil. You can do this in your kitchen, on your Sapling Evaporator, over a propane burner, or even on an open fire outdoors. Boil the apple cider until it is about one-eight of its original volume. Then simply cool and store!
The finished product is sweet, sometimes tart, and much thicker than the original cider. It will look and act like syrup!
An Apple Heavy Farmstead
We first learned about apple cider syrup from Audra, a customer of ours. Audra purchased a Sapling Evaporator Pan from us shortly after moving to a homestead with dozens of ancient apple trees and space in the garage to store her heirloom cider press.
Audra grew up in Weathersfield, Vermont, near the famed Wood’s Cider Mill, where she made maple syrup every spring with her family. In addition, there was a family cider press. In fact, all three of her brothers went on to found and run apple-related businesses. These businesses included Brown Brothers’ Cider and Cider Co. (Mottos: “We squeeze to please.” No joke!) So picking, pressing, and preserving apples was a family affair. Audra canned up to twenty gallons of apple cider per year. She made apple cider syrup too.
“When I saw your Sapling,” says Audra “a light went off in my brain! I knew about the process of making apple cider syrup and thought what an awesome way to preserve cider and create a unique local product. Your Sapling is such a perfect size for a small homestead.”
In a good apple year, says Audra, in addition to making apple cider syrup, “I hope to work on some of my own creations. I plan to experiment with herbal and berry infusions. We have a growing farm and produce an increasing array of herbs and berries as well as keep bees and harvest honey.”
Apple cider syrup can be poured over pancakes, waffles, and ice cream just the same as maple syrup. It makes good marinades, sauces, and salad dressings. And it is added to apple desserts to make them more flavorful. It is also a tasty addition to hot and cold drinks.
As to how Audra enjoys apple cider syrup, “I usually use it as an extra special ingredient,” she says. “So far we have added it to recipes to give them an apple kick. I like to pour it over meat when baking for a unique flavor, and it is tasty on ice cream and in salad dressing. You can add it to apple pie or crisp, muffins, etc. I know I haven’t tried half of the possibilities.”
Apple Cider Syrup at Home
So, whether you have access to pressed apples or care to experiment with a gallon of store-bought cider, give apple cider syrup a go this year. You may just find yourself with a new skill and a delicious ingredient for the ages!
Other Types of Syrups
Maple is a special type of syrup, both for us and the world. Its unique flavor is the syrup of choice for everything from pancakes to waffles to salad dressings and homemade baked goods. But many other syrups can be made! They fall into 3 main categories
1. Tree Syrups
Most of these syrups come from the sap of trees. Like making maple, the sap is boiled down to make syrup. Each type of tree syrup has a different sap-to-syrup ratio. For example, for a sugar maple, it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Bur for birch syrup, it can take as much as 100 to 120 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.
A few of the tree syrups listed below, like cherry blossom and spruce tip, are steeped and then boiled with water and sugar.
Here is a list of some of the most popular types of tree syrups:
2. Flower Syrups
These syrups come from a steeped mixture of flowers or plants, mixed with water and sugar. Below is a list of some different types of flower syrups:
3. Fruit Syrups
These syrups come from the boiled-down juice of fruits. Below is a list of some types of fruit syrups:
All these other types of syrups have their own unique flavors. We’ve taste-tested many different types of syrup, including elderflower, rhubarb, blueberry, raspberry rhubarb, apple cider, birch, black walnut, spruce tip, and sweet sorghum syrups. You can read about our favorites from that taste test in our previous blog.
Happy Syrup Making, From our Family to yours!