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Wassail - Good for What Ails!


In Tudor times, what was wassail, and what was wassailing? During the Christmas season, groups of people traveled from house to house with a communal wassail bowl to wish good health to their neighbors and sharing the wasssail drink. Wassail was warm ale, wine or cider mixed with spices and honey. The old Anglo-Saxon toast waes hael meant “be in good health”. People of less modest means could go from house to house with a wassail bowl and often receive coins in return.

Wassailing the apple trees is a custom from pagan times that still takes place in some parts of England. On Twelfth Night, or sometimes Christmas eve or New Year’s eve, people sing songs to the trees in apple orchards, dance and make loud noises. This is thought to scare away evil spirits and to assure good apple crops.

You can make a non-alcoholic version of wassail in your crockpot or on your stove.

· 2 quarts apple cider

· 2 cups orange juice

· ½ cup lemon juice

· 12 whole cloves

· 4 cinnamon sticks

· 1 pinch ground ginger

· 1 pinch ground nutmeg

In a slow-cooker or a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, allow to simmer all day. Serve hot.

Recipe source:

Photo source: gettyimages





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