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What is the Difference between Apple Juice and Apple Cider?

Many people wonder if apple juice and apple cider are the same or if there is really a difference between them. Some believe that if it is bought in the store it is apple juice and if it is homemade it is cider because it hasn’t been pasteurized. The final idea is that Cider is made from the apples that are picked earlier than the rest.

The truth is, when the apples are picked has nothing to do with the difference between the two products. The real difference is in how the apples are treated after they are picked. Cider is fresh juice that has not been pasteurized or filtered while Apple juice has been pasteurized and filtered. Apple juice will also last longer because of the pasteurization process.

Apple Cider

Cider hasn’t been pasteurized and it has a higher level of acid and a lower content of sugar. This means that it will eventually ferment. Cider needs to be refrigerated for a maximum of two weeks due to the fact it is perishable. After that the taste my go off and it will likely also start to ferment. You can store it in the freezer once about an inch or so has been taken out of the container. This will keep it from exploding. Cider that isn’t refrigerated will start to ferment almost immediately.

Cider is a great source of potassium and iron. It also has no added sugar and is all natural. It also has been shown to keep cholesterol levels down as well.

There are some regional differences to consider when we are discussion what is and isn’t cider. In the United States cider refers to the expressed juice of apples before it experiences fermentation. In England and Australia cider means fermented juice. In the US, we would call the alcoholic cider “hard cider”.

Apple Juice

In order to make apple juice a filtration process that gets rid of any leftover pulp and sediment is applied and then the remaining juice is pasteurized to help extend its life. After that it is generally vacuum sealed which means an unopened bottle can last for months on the shelf. Once opened, apple juice can last for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Apple Cider vs Apple Juice

So, as you can see, the major difference between apple cider and apple juice all comes down to how it is processed and the shelf life of both. Other differences have to do with flavor. Apple cider has a strong, sweet flavor with a bit of tartness to it. The tartness varies based on the varieties of apples used. Apple juice on the other hand has a milder sweet flavor and the tartness is entirely absent.

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