It's easy to make healthy, cozy spiced or mulled cider; all it takes is a handful of simple, healthy ingredients you may already have on hand.
The holidays may be over but winter is just beginning. Here's a simple, warming recipe for hot spiced cider from our friends at Texas Oncology, a center that focuses on healthy lifestyle and diet for preventing and fighting cancer. It combines antioxidant-rich orange peel; nutmeg, cloves and ginger, which contain abundant antioxidants and cancer-fighting compounds; and cranberries, which offer powerful phytonutrients. It's a great way to enjoy a hot beverage on those cold mornings or evenings. The dry mixture also makes a great DIY hostess gift!
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, remove just the bright orange peel from 1 organic orange, leaving behind the white pith. Cut peel into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes, until very dry.
Place 4 whole nutmeg, about 16 large cinnamon sticks, 1/4 cup whole allspice, and 1/4 cup whole cloves in a gallon-size freezer bag; fold over top. Place on a dishtowel and pound with a mallet or rolling pin until crumbly. Add dried orange peel, 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and 3/4 cup coarsely chopped crystallized ginger; mix well.
Place about 1/3 cup into individual cheesecloth bags or loose tea bags. Tie tightly with kitchen string. (Makes about 20 packets.)
To make mulled cider, simmer 1 packet mulling spices in 1 quart apple cider for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold.