Autumn in a bowl, Apple Cider Harvest Soup is creamy and luscious with the addition of cabbage, pumpkin and lots of fresh apple cider. The sweet & tangy flavour is just right for a crisp fall day. (Skip to recipe.)

a bowl of harvest soup with apple cider, cabbage, & pumpkin and a garnish of brown butter sauteed seeds

It was apple cider pressing day at our place last week! (Our second annual.) Our apple crop was sadly small; about a third of what we had last year, but we still had a blast! Last year we were able to brew ten gallons of apple cider plus all the fresh cider we could drink. This year we had plenty for fresh drinking, but only enough for about three gallons to brew into hard cider. Nature decides!

We still had a great day, though!

apple cider harvest soup; all hands on deck

First we set some of our crew members to work picking the last apples from the trees; the windfalls and the stragglers on the uppermost branches.

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We added any last pears we could find and all the tiny sour crabapples from our tree.

Apple Cider Harvest Soup; the crabapple pickers

the crabapple picking crew consisted of one worker and two foremen

Then it was all hands on deck for cider pressing!

The apples needed to be washed and trimmed of blemishes; cold work on fingers even though it was a sunny autumn day.

harvest soup; washing the apples for cider

dump ’em in the wheelbarrow

apple cider harvest soup; washing the apples

busy washing crew

harvest soup; washing and trimming

washers and watchers

The apples went  into the grinder my dad built years ago. They needed to be poked down with a stick.

harvest soup; now we grind the apples in my dad's home-built grinder

We poured the juicy ground apples into the barrel of the cider press.

apple cider harvest soup; pouring the ground apples into the cider press

Then down went the pressing plate and around and around went the handle.

apple cider harvest soup; cranking the handle of the cider press

it takes some muscle to turn the crank

And out came the sweet, tangy nectar; the living essence of apples bathed in autumn sunlight and tasting all the sweeter for the teamwork that produced it.

apple cider harvest soup; the juice comes pouring out

apple cider harvest soup; pouring the first sip

aaaah, pouring that first heady sip

apple cider harvest soup

cheers! the fruit of our labours. two hard workers get their reward

After all our hard work, it was time for a campfire and some chow time.

apple cider harvest soup; campfire meal after all our hard work

apple cider harvest soup; sitting around the campfire after our apple cider pressing bee

We roasted sausages and sipped on a big pot of apple cider harvest soup; a creamy, luscious soup with a silky base of pureed cabbage and pumpkin, laced with a generous pouring of fresh apple cider. Fresh cider added a sweet fruity note that danced happily with the richness of the cabbage and squash. Crispy brown buttered seeds provided just the right amount of crunch. I kept the harvest soup warm outside in a slow cooker (plugged in to a long extension cord).

apple cider harvest soup served around the campfire

It was the great end to our fall work bee. We sipped more cider, feasted on apple streusel cake for dessert, and all went home with full bellies and sweet apple cider memories.

* * * * *

Try your apple cider hot and spiced. Or use it to glaze carrots to a sweet shimmering gleam.

Kitchen Frau Notes: Apple cider is fresh, unfiltered apple juice. It is brown and cloudy and tastes of fresh apples. You can often buy it in the fall in the refrigerated section of some grocery or health stores. You can also make your own apple cider in small batches if you have a juicer. It is sometimes called soft cider, as opposed to hard cider, which is fresh apple cider that has been fermented and brewed to have an alcohol content. To confuse the issue further, hard cider (alcoholic cider) can sometimes also be called just ‘apple cider’.

If you can’t get fresh apple cider, you can substitute unsweetened apple juice for the apple cider in this soup.

The garnish is optional, but sure adds a lovely, crunchy touch. I recommend you make it!

apple cider harvest soup - creamy bowl of fall goodness

Cabbage, Pumpkin, and Apple Cider Harvest Soup

gluten free, dairy free, vegan

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb (454gms) cabbage – ½ of a small head / 6 cups chopped
  • 1 medium onion (1 cup chopped)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups (480ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 can (14oz/400ml) pumpkin purée or 2 cups homemade pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups (480ml) fresh apple cider or unsweetened apple juice

Optional garnish – Brown Butter Seeds

  • 1 tablespoon butter (use oil for dairy free or vegan)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

Sauté the chopped cabbage and chopped onion in the olive oil until translucent but not browned, for 5 minutes over medium heat in a dutch oven or stock pot. Add the salt, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, and white pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spices are fragrant.

Add the vegetable stock and pumpkin purée and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 15 minutes. Purée the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender in the pot, until it is smooth and creamy. It will be thick. Return it to the soup pot, stir in the fresh apple cider, and heat until it just comes to a simmer.

For the optional garnish, heat the butter in a small skillet until it is foamy. Add the seeds and cook and stir until the butter browns and the seeds turn golden and fragrant – about 5 minutes. Garnish each soup bowl with a spoonful of the golden toasted seeds.

Makes 8 cups of soup – 4 main course servings or 8 appetizer servings.

Guten Appetit!


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A bowl of creamy Harvest Soup with fresh apple cider, cabbage, and pumpkin is a bowl of autumn. Serve it with a sprinkle of brown butter seeds. The apple cider lends a unique sweet & tangy flavour to this luscious soup.

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