Ever have a relationship so intense it's hard to talk about? I find myself stumbling, searching for the right words to convince you to try one of my hands-down favorite ingredients ever. Most of the time I just bring a bottle of boiled cider on the road with me when traveling for the company, hand people a spoonful, and watch their eyes roll back in their heads. No words necessary. But you need to know how amazing this stuff is, so I have to try to tell you.

Better. It makes everything it touches taste better. ApplePieCheddarCrust3_900x600Cake. Icing. Meatloaf. Scones. Salad dressing. Pie. Of course, pieCinnamonAppleSauce_900wCaramels. Ice cream. Pork chops. Applesauce. Roasted butternut squash. Sweet rolls.

WWCiderDoughnutsBrussels sprouts. Doughnuts.

AppleBreadPudding_900x600Chili. Spiced Nuts. Bread Pudding.

CaramelAppleBiscCookies. Cream cheese. Biscuits. Gravy.

AppleTurnover3_900wBacon Jam. Crêpes. Barbecue mop. Pancakes. Oatmeal. Braised cabbage. Bread. Sweet potatoes. Fruitcake. Turnovers.

I'm blithering. Perhaps it would be better if I let one of you talk about it.

Caris, from our KAF Community, has this to say:

"Absolutely essential. This isn't a knock-you-on-your-rear-end superbright Jolly Rancher-reminiscent green apple flavoring but rather a deep, husky-throated, sly smile of a background note. But what a background note! It's thick and syrupy, about like maple syrup, with that sort of intensity. I use it in any apple dish I can, but it also proves valuable in apple cider and olive oil vinaigrettes – a tablespoon or so and a nip of honey puts a nice sweet-sour tang into the festivities. It also goes well in apple chutneys, apple drinks, whipped cream, pan sauces, or just about anywhere you'd use apple cider or apple-cider vinegar. A bottle will last a great while in the fridge because a little goes a long way. This one's a total keeper."

Can you make it yourself? Sure. It takes hours and a bit of attention, but it's do-able. PJ has used her crock pot to reduce a gallon of cider to the right syrupy consistency. What you make at home won't be as clear as what the Wood family makes. Want to see how they do it? Check out this video.

Like all the best relationships, this one lasts, takes on new meaning the more time you spend with it, and rarely if ever disappoints.

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Better. Everything you make with boiled cider will taste better. You'll be drizzling the pure essence of VT greatness in the fall into your food.

Join the hundreds of people who rave about this wonderful ingredient on our site. You'll see why one of them calls it "Liquid Magic."

Susan Reid
The Author

About Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.