An Apple A Day

How to use Washington’s most famous produce to make your own apple cider or apple cider vinegar.

If you took the family to a local orchard for some fun fall activities and now find yourself with bag and bags of apples, we’ve got some ideas for you. Let’s say you’ve baked the pies, made the smoothies and eaten all the fresh slices you can handle. Now what? Try these two recipes that give you some long-term, large scale ways to use up your apples. Apple cider vinegar can be kept for months and used in everything from salad dressings to marinades.  While homemade apple cider can provide a sweet, warm treat for the whole family for an entire holiday weekend. Try these two simple recipes to start. 

Basic Apple Cider

  • 12 apples, quartered
  • 1 to 2 oranges, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • ½ cup brown sugar or maple syrup


Step 1: In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients and cover with one to two inches of water (roughly 16 cups). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover for two hours.

Step 2: Remove the orange slices, smash the apples with a wooden spoon. Simmer for another hour. Strain out the solids. Serve warm.

Possible additions: Ginger or chai spices (add during step 1). Bourbon or brandy (add at the end of step 2).

Garnishes: Orange or apple spice, cinnamon stick


Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Cubed pieces from roughly 4 to 6 apples (fill up three quarters of a quart jar)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 quart jar


Fill a quart jar three quarters of the way with apples. Add the sugar. Boil 2 cups of water and let cool down to warm. Pour the water onto the apples until covered. Secure with a canning lid or coffee filter and rubber band. Allow to sit in dry, cool, dark place for at least two weeks. Stop the fermentation process by refrigerating.

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