HOT MULLED REVELRY
or “What’s a Wassail?” From High Atop the Ole’ Apple Tree
Wily weather have you worn weary? Why not wet your whistle with this wonderful warm wassail
wecipe recipe?!! What’s a “wassail” you wonder?? Well….
With season’s last harvest gathered, the centuries old, “Twelfth Night” (January 5th) celebration & blessing of the apple orchards, throughout the Southwest English countryside, would commence.
A revelry of song & sharing of hot mulled cider, from the “wassail bowl”, lead by the “Wassail King & Queen”, the hearty procession would travel from one orchard to the next, singing out, in honor of the tree spirits, and to cast out the evil spirits among them. In seeking the blessing of a good harvest, the following season, The Queen is lifted high into the tree boughs, with a gift offering of toast soaked in cider.
And then, the incantation sounds out…
Here's to thee, old apple tree,
That blooms well, bears well.
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
An' all under one tree.
In later times, “Wassailing” took the form of the traditional Yuletide Caroling and sharing of hot “wassail” door to door, that many know today. As in the lyric,
Here we come a-wassailing Among the leaves so green; Here we come a-wand'ring So fair to be seen. Love and joy come to you, And to you your wassail too, God bless you & send you a Happy New Year And God send you a Happy New Year.
The moment Autumn sets in, there is nothing like setting out a big batch of this long treasured drink, on the stove-top, to warm the bones and fill the house with the alluring aroma of apples, cinnamon and clove. Guaranteed to get you in the spirit of the season, like nothing else.
This is my take on one of my all-time favorite hot beverages! Enjoy!!
HOT MULLED CIDER RECIPES
For each of the following recipes, simply
- Combine ingredients in a large pot or slow-cooker
- Bring to simmer on medium heat, then reduce to low
- Heat at low simmer for 20 minutes, melding flavors.
- Pour into a thermos, bundle up & get your “wassail” on!
HOT SPICED APPLE CIDER
1 gal. apple cider
6 slices of 1/4” orange
2 Tbsp. of LEMON JUICE
1/2 cup of whole cranberries
6-8 cinnamon sticks
8-10 whole cloves
HOT SPICED Peach Nectar
1 gal. Peach Nectar
4 slices of 1/4“ inch Lemon
3-4 Cinnamon Sticks
6 slices of 1/8” inch FRESH GINGER
*OPTIONAL KICK in the PANTS: Add 1 oz. Brandy or Spiced Rum
(JUST CLICK, SAVE & PRINT!!!)
With COLD & FLU SEASON upon us, did you know that HOT SPICED CIDER is a great way to boost your immune system?
- AppleS, ORANGES & CRANBERRIES are all high in vitamin C, as well as antioxidants.
- CINNAMON has excellent anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal & anti-inflammatory properties.
- CLOVE is a good source of antioxidants & known for it’s antibacterial properties.
After all, “WASSAIL”, as taken from the Old Norse salute of “ves heill“, means ‘be in good health’. So brew a batch today!!
WINTER APPLE TREE PRUNING
February & early March is the best time for pruning. The goals of Winter pruning (particularly “orchard style” pruning) are to:
- establish 3-5 tiers of a well spaced (ideally, closer to a bit above horizontal) ‘scaffold branches’, from a strong central leader. This allows for easy harvesting, maintains the size of the canopy, and eliminates limbs of greater than 45 degrees, that are generally more prone to fruit weight-load damage.
- remove dead, damaged, vulnerable, crossing, and touching branches, that can rub together, causing open wounds & spread of disease.
- to maintain a more open canopy (enough to throw your hat through) with good airflow & sunlight penetration. This also helps minimize the spread disease, etc.
- remove sucker growth, upward growing water sprouts. This helps maintain size and density of the tree canopy, as well as reserves the tree’s energy & resources for fruit producing branches.
* DON’T remove more than 1/3 of tree branches, in a given year. DO sing to your trees.
DORMANT SPRAY TREATMENT
Since you’re already up there, and with Spring just around the corner, this is a good time to apply Dormant Sprays, to address & prevent infestations.
D.I.Y. DORMANT SPRAY RECIPE
100% SAFE & EFFECTIVE
- WATER: 1 gallon
- CASTILE SOAP: 5 Tbsp.
- BAKING SODA: 2 Tbsp.
- HYDROGEN PEROXIDE: 5 Tbsp
*For use only when daily temperatures remain between 4O – 60 degrees. (LATE FALL & LATE WINTER)