Boiled Cider - Gastro Obscura

Ingredients & Condiments

Boiled Cider

Popular in colonial New England, this “apple molasses” is now made by only a handful of commercial producers.

Apple cider is practically the official beverage of the fall foliage season in the United States. But you’re far less likely to find its concentrated sibling, boiled cider, at local farm stands. This traditional New England sweetener, which dates back to colonial times, is made by reducing fresh cider into a thick, gooey, dark liquid also called “apple molasses.”

In rural New England, cooks used boiled cider to enhance baked goods, such as the namesake boiled cider pie, as well as mincemeat, sauces, and vegetable dishes, Slow Food USA notes. Preserving cider by boiling it also helped families extend the use of their apple crops. When supplies of fresh cider had been exhausted, a little of the boiled-down version could be mixed with water.

Boiled cider was popular in part because it was easy to make. Unlike sugar and regular molasses, which were imported from Caribbean plantations worked by enslaved Africans, apple molasses could be produced locally. Once a New England household staple, it fell out of favor by World War II, the victim of cheaper sugar and a dwindling number of commercial cider mills. Today, only a handful of producers remain in Vermont.

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Susie Armitage Susie Armitage