Apple Cider Recipes for a Gluten-Free Autumn

Bushel of ApplesI guess it’s fall.

I’ve been fighting it, but alas: summer is over, at least in Pittsburgh.

The down comforter is back on my bed (and, OK, so is the electric mattress pad). The windows at home? Most of the time, they’re mostly closed. The peaches and nectarines are fighting for shelf space with apples and pears.

Ah yes. Apples and pears. At least there’s fall food to look forward to.

For today, let’s focus on apple cider. Not only will you be hard-pressed to find a cider that isn’t gluten-free (get it?! Pressed!!), but cider’s got lots of antioxidants, it’s often easy to find a local variety, and it’s delicious.

If you don’t feel like drinking your cider straight, there’re plenty of other things you can do with it.

Like mix it with alcohol. One of the first lessons I learned in college is that cider mixes well with almost everything, even bottom-shelf tequila (sorry, Mom). If you’re feeling fancy, you could make a proper cocktail, like the rum-based Stone Fence or the tequila-and-puns Cider House Rules. Double fancy-points for a hot drink, like a bourbon-and-cider hot toddy or this hot mulled cider with white wine and quince from Food and Wine.

Not that we need alcohol to have a good time (with cider). This apple cider vinegar hot toddy is technically for fighting off a cold, but it would be tasty even in top health. And this Good Morning America-approved hot spiced cider has maple syrup for extra sweetness.

Apple cider has a depth of flavor that also lends well to savory recipes:

• Mussels in dry French cider with garlic and shallots? Thanks, Nami Nami.
• Bravo TV’s slow-braised pork belly with honey and cider is both easy and impressive; just be sure you’re using a gluten-free bouillon cube (your gluten-free grocery guide can help you there).
• Apple cider reduction (aka, apple cider cooked slowly down into a concentrated syrup) can top almost any meat or roasted vegetable, but you can also drizzle it over a gluten-free cauliflower-apple soup.
Risotto with cider and sage? Miniature pumpkin cider stew (be sure to use GF flour!)? Seared scallops with cider brown butter?

You’ve got options. Now go out and get some cider!

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