Apple cider reminds me of autumn. The apple aroma, combined with the heady cinnamon and nutmeg, makes me crave pumpkin spice lattes. I will admit, nothing beats curling up in a chair by the fire on a cold winter day with an apple cider in hand.
Although it is delicious cold, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it warm. In fact, most people swear that heating up this fall treat accentuates its flavor. However, confusion abounds about whether it is safe to microwave it. Some reports indicate no, while others vote yes.
But what if you’re short on time or don’t want to spend your entire morning baking pies? Can you microwave apple cider?
Yes, microwaving is a quick and easy way to heat your apple cider. Make sure to use a microwave-safe mug to avoid contamination from the plastic cider packages. Importantly, microwave in short increments to prevent overheating and stir to ensure even heating.
Please continue reading for more information on apple cider, including whether it’s nutritious, how long it takes to microwave, a step-by-step guide, and much more.
Is Apple Cider Good for You?
Apple cider is a decade-old drink celebrated for its innumerable health benefits, from reducing inflammation to improving heart health and lowering the risk of certain cancers.
But can these claims be backed by science? Or are they just myths perpetuated by the media? Let’s find out!
For starters, apple cider is not apple juice. I know it sounds confusing off the bat, but there is a thin line between the two. Unlike apple juice, which is filtered, pasteurized, and sweetened, apple cider is raw and unpasteurized. As such, most of its nutrients remain intact.
And that marks the genesis of cider’s purported health benefits.
It contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps your body fight disease-causing free radicals. Although the polyphenol concentration is not as high as a whole apple, drinking a teaspoon daily provides enough antioxidants to promote health and reduce cancer risk.
Apple cider also packs phytonutrients, which help suppress chronic diseases like cardiovascular. It keeps arteries clean and clear by preventing the oxidation of bad cholesterol in our bloodstream. That’s right: no need for those expensive supplements.
Oh, and did I mention that this delicious tonic helps prevent constipation, too? Apple cider’s pectin content promotes regularity and bowel movements, making it ideal for individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
Can You Microwave Apple Cider?
Yes, microwaving is a quick and easy way to turn this fall favorite into a safe and delectable beverage.
As previously stated, most apple cider is unpasteurized, increasing the risk of bacterial contamination. This is particularly true if it’s sourced directly from the farm. Without some treatment, this could lead to unpleasant food poisoning or worse. Furthermore, heating accentuates the sweetness and spiciness of apple cider, resulting in a more intense flavor profile.
However, it is not always a walk in the park.
First, microwaves have a bad rap for cooking unevenly. This can result in a burnt taste, rendering the cider unpalatable. Second, the drink may bubble up while heating, potentially spilling all over your microwave. Third, overheating (more likely with microwaves) can cause caramelization and browning, affecting the final taste.
So, does this mean microwaving apple cider is an impossible feat? Not quite.
In fact, with a bit of finesse, patience, and knowledge, you can circumnavigate these obstacles to create one delicious mug o’ cider.
To begin, I find microwaving in short bursts rather than one long session vital. This gives me control over the whole process, allowing me to intervene when necessary.
Additionally, don’t go on a full-power blast. Instead, start at about half power and work your way up. Experiment with different time intervals until you find the sweet spot that works for you. Finally, stir after each interval of microwaving to prevent any hot spots and burning.
How Long to Microwave Apple Cider?
Typically, it will take about 2-3 minutes to microwave a mug of apple cider.
So, you may be wondering, why the short time?
Like any other beverage, overheating apple cider can lead to a burned taste and make it unpalatable for consumption. Worse, it can deplete the drink’s nutritional value, leaving you with nothing but scorched liquid and scalded tongues.
On the other hand, you want to heat it long enough to kill any bacteria present. However, balancing the safety and flavor of this fall treat, particularly when microwaving, is no easy feat. Fortunately, there is a tried-and-true method that satisfies both requirements.
To determine the optimal time to microwave apple cider, I tried two approaches: microwaving in short intervals versus microwaving all at once.
- The short intervals approach: I microwaved the apple cider in 30-second increments until it reached the desired temperature of 165°F. It took roughly four rounds before my cup was warm enough to enjoy. Although time-consuming, this method proved the most effective. It gave me control over the heating process without the risk of overheating.
- The all-at-once approach: The method only took one round (2 minutes) for the apple cider to reach the desired temperature. Unfortunately, the results were less than satisfactory. Not only did this overheat the drink, but it also left me with a burnt aftertaste.
As a result, there is no doubt that microwaving apple cider in short intervals is the best approach. However, time may vary depending on your microwave wattage and the amount of fluid you’re microwaving at once. My advice, consult your owner’s manual and make the necessary adjustments.
Tips For Microwaving Apple Cider
To make your apple cider microwaving experience a success, I have a few quick tips for you.
1. Use only microwave-safe bowls, cups, or mugs
You see, not every container is safe to use in the microwave; a lesson, unfortunately, I learned the hard way. For example, plastic containers will melt when heated, leaching toxins into your apple cider, while metal may cause sparks and even ignite a fire.
As a result, I recommend using only vessels made of glass or ceramic that specifically state microwave safe. (They should have squiggly lines at the bottom).
2. Cover the microwave-safe cup
Microwaving this autumn beverage unopened puts your appliance at risk of spillage, resulting in a clean-up disarray. Unfortunately, most store-bought apple cider lids are not microwave-safe.
Instead, cover it with plastic wrap or, if it’s a lid, make sure it’s microwave-safe before proceeding. Also, leave some space between the liquid’s surface and the cup’s top to allow steam to escape.
3. Monitor Closely
As I have repeatedly stated, apple cider is easy to overheat. Leaving it unattended in the microwave risks altering its taste profile, turning it into watered-down juice. So, to avoid such culinary catastrophes, monitor the apple cider closely.
The recommended time range is 2-3 minutes on high power, but this can vary depending on your microwave wattage. I also find microwaving in short intervals produces better results than setting it and forgetting it.
4. Stir often
A single stir will not suffice, so be prepared to take out the apple cider after each interval and give it a good mix. This ensures even heat distribution and prevents your drink from getting scorched. Plus, it helps keep it carbonated, which adds flavor.
However, exercise caution while stirring as the liquid will still be very hot, and splatters are inevitable. If necessary, wear an oven mitt to protect your hands during the process.
5. Use a food thermometer
As we’ve already established, apple cider is unpasteurized and thus susceptible to bacterial growth. Consequently, consuming this autumn beverage can result in gastrointestinal distress and other foodborne illness. To prevent any unpleasantries, simply dip a food thermometer into the apple cider occasionally until it reaches a safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Garnish the apple cider
Once it has cooled to a suitable drinking temperature, stir in your favorite toppings to spice it up. This creates a delightful sensory experience, with tastes and smells delighting your senses.
I like to top mine with cinnamon sticks and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, the possibilities are endless: dried cranberries, lemon slices, fresh nutmeg, cloves, and more.
How To Microwave Apple Cider
Microwaving apple cider is a fantastic way to enjoy it hot and accentuates all its natural flavors. Here’s how to go about it:
- Fill your microwaveable bowl with the desired amount of apple cider. Do not overfill the container, or you risk spilling your cider on your microwave, creating a mess. Furthermore, if it is frozen, leave it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
- Cover the bowl with a microwavable lid or plastic wrap to avoid spillage. However, leave space between the lid and the bowl so the steam can escape. For the plastic wrap, prick some holes using a fork or needle.
- Pop the bowl in the microwave and set the timer for 30 seconds on high at first.
- Once the time elapses, remove the bowl from the microwave, stir, and return to the microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat this process until your apple cider has reached a safe consumption temperature or is warm enough to your liking.
- If it’s still not warm enough, add another 30 seconds and stir every time.
- Once your apple cider is ready, pour it into a mug or other suitable vessel and enjoy. If desired, add cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and ginger root for a more intense flavor.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last?
Apple cider will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days after opening.
But if you want to extend its shelf life, I recommend freezing it. It will keep its best quality in a sealed freezer bag for eight months to a year. However, in both cases, expect the flavor of your apple cider to deteriorate over time as it oxidizes.
The sooner you drink it, the better the taste and the more nutrients remain intact.
Microwaving apple cider is a quick and easy way to have it hot without compromising its flavor or nutrients. Just make sure to microwave it in short bursts to prevent overheating, which may result in a burnt taste. Importantly, stir the cider after each burst to ensure even heating and monitor closely.
Once warm enough to your preference, top with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, or your favorite condiments for a savory treat.