Its the season for apple orchards, donuts, farm stands, pumpkin pie, hayrides, and apple cider.
Once we become older, we tend to stray away from apple juice and progress to the older sibling, apple cider.
But, what are the main differences between these two delicious beverages? Keep reading to find out the main differences between apple cider and apple juice!
The History of Apple Cider, Apple Juice, and Hard Cider
Thousands of years ago, crab apples became a very common ingredient to be made into cider. Since these apples weren’t typically eaten due to their bitter taste, they were used for cooking and drinking. Once the apples were pressed and made into a juice, they were left to ferment (turning it into a hard cider).
Since the birth of hard cider, the popularity of the beverage spread quickly around Europe and eventually made its way to the United States. The popularity of hard cider fizzled out in time and was replaced with soda and beer. This left us with apple cider, apple juice, and hard cider.
Pro-tip: Outside of the United States, cider typically refers to an alcoholic beverage.
So, What is Apple Cider?
Apple cider is commonly defined as an unfiltered, raw, unpasteurized, sweet, non-alcoholic beverage that uses fresh apples.
To make apple cider, fresh apples are cut up and pressed using a hydraulic press. Since apple cider is raw and includes the pressed “flesh” of the apples, it doesn’t go through a typical filtration process.
Apple cider is a medium-to-dark caramel color due to the coarse particles of pulp and other “mash” of the apples. It’s critical for fresh cider to remain refrigerated or the room temperatures will jump start fermentation – creating hard cider! In the Midwest, fresh apple cider is typically found in gallon or half-gallon jugs at local grocery stores, apple orchards, farmers’ markets, and more.
What is Apple Juice?
Apple juice is very similar to apple cider, except it goes through both a filtration process and pasteurization process.
When the beverage is exposed to heat, it changes the color, taste, and composition. Typically, you will find that apple cider is a dark, opaque color whereas apple juice is light and transparent.
If you walk into any local grocery store, it’s very common to see apple juice stocked on the store shelves all year long. Depending on the brand, apple juice can include added preservatives or sugars to enhance the apple flavor and extend shelf life and making it shelf-stable.
There are several additional options for consumers including Trader Joe’s Unfiltered Apple Juice that contains fewer preservatives and lower amounts of sugar.
Can You Make Your Own Apple Cider At Home?
The answer is yes, you can make your own apple cider at home!
Custom Apple Cider recipe was created by our Good nature chef and juicing consultant, Ari. Unlike most apple cider recipes, you won’t need a crock pot, slow cooker, or strainer – just your juicer.
The next time you’re on the hunt for apple cider or apple juice, make it yourself! This is an easy and creative way to experiment with different recipes and know what’s going into your beverage.
Which do you prefer: Apple Cider or Apple Juice? Let us know in the comments!