by Christine Sine
On Saturday we harvested over 400lb of apples from our 3 semi-dwarf trees and I am stunned by the fact that all this came from a single seed planted many years ago and slowly maturing until it overwhelms us with its abundance. This is not the first time we have harvested apples from our trees but it is certainly the most plentiful harvest and maybe the first time that I have allowed myself to pause and tank God for the abundance of a seed.
These apples have already taught me many lessons and provided much food for body soul and spirit.
Over the last few days the whole house has been filled with the fragrance of apples, cinnamon and cloves as I am slowly processing some of them into apple cider. We don’t have an apple press but in many ways this is much better for me as it produces just enough bottles of cider to process in our canner each day. It is a fun and rewarding process. The problem is that I want to taste each batch to make sure it is OK and the temptation to drink more than a taste is huge.
Apple Cider Revelation
All that said, what I really wanted to share is the reflective process and the poem it has stirred within me. Each morning as I sit and pray for friends struggling with health issues, my lungs are filled with the fragrance of spices and apples. It is wonderful. It is as though the very breath of God, that fragrant, wonderful breath of life is being drawn into my lungs and throughout my body. If fills me with its fragrance and I visualize that same fragrance moving out to fill those I love who are struggling. So often we think of the fragrance of prayers rising like incense before God, yet I think it is also important to visualize them being drawn into us us as we pray and into the body, soul and spirit of those we are praying for too. Because of our prayers the fragrance of God fills them.
So plan a prayer time with apple cider as your guide.
As you probably are not processing apple cider at the moment I suggest you take a few apples and make a small batch of cider to guide your prayers today. (recipe below) Or purchase a bottle of cider (organic of course) and put it on to boil with a cinnamon stick and 6 cloves in it. You can also add nutmeg and allspice and make a batch of mulled cider. I know this is something many of us associate with Christmas but it is a great prompt for a special prayer time.
Fill your cup and visualize the fragrant presence of God filling you and the ones you are praying for.
Begin your prayer time with this prayer.
Apple Cider Recipe
There are many recipes online for home made apple cider, but many of them are too sweet for my taste. They also tend to use a much lower apple to water ratio and I find that using more apples gives a much tastier flavour and you don’t need to add honey or sugar. I like the slow cooker method because you don’t have to stand over it and stir it, another big plus for busy people.
Fill your slow cooker about 1/2 inch below the top with apples – about 15 medium size apples for a 6 quart pot.
Add water until the apples are just covered.
Add 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves and other optional spices 1 teaspoon nutmeg and allspice
Turn cooker on low for 8 hours (perfect for overnight so that you wake up to a wonderfully fragrant house).
Mash apples with a potato masher.
Cook for another 2 hours.
Allow to cool (easier to handle).
Filter through cheese cloth, squeezing all the juice out of the cloth.
Bottle (can) – makes about 3 1/2 quarts.
It will remain good for 24 hours on the counter, 1 week in the fridge or process in a canning pot. I stored my first batch in the fridge and reheated the mixture as I make 2 batches to fill my canner. Fill 7 quart jars, screw on lids and place in canner. Cover about 1 inch above lids with water. Boil for 20 minutes. Cool and check the seals before you store. I like to keep my jars out on the counter for 24 hours to make sure they really have sealed before I store them away.
This is the first time I have done this so I am only going on what others say here but evidently this should last at least 12 months – if it gets the chance that is. It is so good that I am not sure it will last until Christmas.