Winter is officially here. Which means colder and longer nights. But it’s not all bad news. Hot drinks and cocktails come back into fashion, making it easier to enjoy the cooler nights out and about socialising with friends.
Mulled cider is a must have for autumn and winter social gatherings. Most popular in the northern hemisphere where the winters are very cold and a hot beverage is always welcome. Melbourne may not be as cold as the north, but the smell of spiced cider is pretty inviting and it tastes delicious.
Anybody can enjoy a mug of mulled cider, and as an adult you can take the opportunity to add a shot of spiced rum for a smooth kick.
A slow cooker does the double of both mulling the cider and keeping it warm for hours, making it the perfect appliance for this classic cold-weather beverage. It will also make your house smell like Christmas.
How to make mulled cider in the slow cooker
Makes 4 litres.
- 4 litres of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
- 4 x cinnamon sticks
- 1 x large orange
- 1 x piece of fresh ginger (approx. 4cm)
- 1 x tablespoon of whole cloves
- 1 x tablespoon of nutmeg
- 1 x teaspoon of star anise
- Fill the slow cooker;
- Add the fresh ingredients (orange and ginger);
- Add the spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and star anise);
- Slow cook on low for up to 4 hours or pressure cook on high for 3o minutes;
- Strain cider (if required or desired) using a fine mesh strainer.
Keep warm and serve in mugs garnished with sliced orange or a cinnamon stick.
What is apple cider vinegar?
People have used apple cider vinegar (ACV) for thousands of years. Everyone from the ancient Babylonians to the Greeks used it as a cure-all for all kinds of health ailments.
Like coconut oil and grass-fed butter, ACV is enjoying a comeback among people who care about their health.
Vinegars are a product of fermentation. This is a process in which sugars in a food are broken down by bacteria and yeast. In the first stage of fermentation, the sugars are turned into alcohol. Then, if the alcohol ferments further, you get vinegar. ACV comes from pulverized apples.
ACV contains is acetic acid, which helps get rid of harmful bacteria and fungi in the gastrointestinal tract. This helps the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food in the intestines.
10 reasons to use apple cider vinegar
- It helps the body maintain a healthy pH level. You would think it would be acidic but in fact it helps bring your body into a more alkaline state;
- The alkaline effect of ACV also helps detoxify the liver, which makes it a great tonic when detoxing;
- It can help you lose weight. ACV works by correcting acid issues. It acts as a buffer in the body – the acetic acid reacts with base or acid compounds to form an acetate, therefore rendering them chemically bioavailable for the body’s utilization;
- It’s great for your lymphatic system. It helps break down mucus throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. This also means it’s great when fighting a blocked nose or sinus infection;
- It helps improve gut flora and aids digestion. It is also said to clear up chronic acid reflux when taken with each meal;
- ACV is full enzymes that can help rid your body of Candida due to the malic acid and acetic acid (mentioned above);
- It makes a wonderful tonic for bad breath (halitosis). Dilute in warm water and gargle it morning and night;
- It boosts your immune system due to its antibacterial properties;
- It is great for your skin. Apply it topically for immediate benefits: dilute ACV with water and using a cotton pad apply as a toner or dab directly onto blemishes to dry them out; and
- Thickens your hair and makes it shine: Fill an old shampoo bottle with 1/2 a tablespoon of ACV and a cup of cold water. Pour the solution through your hair after shampooing several times a week.
Heartburn and digestive issues are two of the most common health complaints today. They are some of the standard symptoms that result from the modern westernised diet, which can result in not enough stomach acids being produced by the body (ie: hydrochloric acid).
By adding raw ACV to your diet, you can help your stomach create enough acid to start the digestion process and kill off harmful microbes.
Giving your digestion a boost is easy. Just add ACV to your salad dressings or drink some raw, unfiltered ACV diluted with water about 20 minutes prior to meals.