No, that's not Glade you smell as you step over the holiday threshold. Since medieval times, the same mulled spices have been warming guests as they entered from the cold outdoors into aromatic hearths. Sure, warm spiced apple cider holds a place in our nostalgic hearts, but did you know this wintertime classic has the potential to bring a dose of health boosting, soul nurturing power? Follow this recipe for a mug mulled with some super spices that will keep your spirits flying right into the new year.
What you'll need:
Apples of course, or Apple Juice. You can juice your favorite variety yourself or buy some fresh apple cider/juice from the farmers market. Whatever you do, this recipe calls for five cups. And either way, opt for organic products as apples are among the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen of the twelve foods containing the most pesticide residues.
6 Cinnamon Sticks Cinnamon is a super spice incarnate. For one, it kills e-coli in apple juice. But studies have also shown it helps regulate blood sugar, has anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties, among other benefits.
6 Cloves Eugenol, found in cloves, has anti-inflammatory properties and is a mild anesthetic as well as an anti-bacterial agent.
6 Cardamom pods Cardamom can detoxify the body if you've overdone it on the caffeine, stimulate the digestive system, reduce gas and help out with bad breath, among other things.
2 Chinese Star Anise Get a head start on combating intestinal gas and headaches, both important antidotes during the holidays
Fresh Ginger A one-inch peeled piece of fresh ginger will stimulate circulation (great for cold weather), as well as digestion (great for a bit of overindulgence).
Lemon peel 1/2 teaspoon grated from an organic lemon
1 Orange thinly sliced
Honey 1/4 cup (or your favorite natural sweetener), but if you've got a cough, honey can help.
- If using a juicer, go ahead and juice enough apples to make 5 cups of juice
- Pour juice or cider into your pot
- Add all of your spices, either tied in a cheesecloth or a tea bag, or you can throw them in loosely and strain them out later
- Bring the heat to just under a boil, trying not to let the mixture boil
- Slowly simmer for twenty minutes, adding the sliced orange in the last 5 minutes
- Remove from heat
- Stir in honey
image: Natalie Maynor