You’ve probably had the experience of cupping a steaming mug of apple cider in your hands on a cold night. But have you ever had hot pumpkin cider? At Cider Corps, a spanking new, veteran-owned craft cidery in downtown Mesa, brothers Jason and Josh Duren usually make hard cider, but in an effort to make something kid-friendly, they came up with non-alcoholic pumpkin cider.
Josh says that lots of folks make pumpkin beer, but it’s never really about the pumpkin. “It’s always just about the spices,” he says. “Pumpkin has a real earthiness. It’s a unique flavor.”
The brothers started Cider Corps after Jason (Sgt. USMC, Ret.) returned from a tour in Afghanistan with two traumatic brain injuries from IED blasts. What started as a hobby for the brothers, and a therapeutic outlet for Jason, has turned into a thriving business.
1 pie pumpkin (sugar pumpkin)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
64 oz. unsweetened, organic apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. vanilla
1 orange, sliced in wedges
Remove top from pumpkin, scoop out seeds and scrape sides clean. Cut into quarters. Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake at 375 degrees until tender – about one hour. Remove from oven and cool. Then, put it in the slow cooker or a stove top pot.
Pour apple juice into stove top pot or slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks, vanilla and cloves (sticking cloves into orange wedges makes them easier to remove from the finished cider). Turn heat on to medium. Once cider has reached a low boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Pot can be kept on low during the day. The longer it is allowed to simmer, the more the pumpkin and spices infuse with the cider.
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