Apple juice and apple cider are both fruit beverages made from apples, but there is a difference between the two. Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. It takes about one third of a bushel to make a gallon of cider.
To make cider, apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash that is the consistency of applesauce. Layers of mash are wrapped in cloth, and put into wooded racks. A hydraulic press squeezes the layers, and the juice flows into refrigerated tanks. This juice is bottled as apple cider.
Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. Vacuum sealing and additional filtering extend the shelf life of the juice.
The flavor of cider depends on the blending of juice from different apple varieties. The term “flavor” refers to the palatability of a distinct apple juice flavor and the aroma that is typical of properly processed apple juice. Cider makers are most particular about concocting a blend that will create the desired flavor and produce the perfect balance between sweetness and tartness.
Cider needs constant refrigeration because it is perishable. It will stay sweet and unfermented for up to two weeks. Cider can also be frozen, but be sure to pour off an inch or two from the container for expansion during freezing.
Although a glass of cider a day cannot guarantee good health, the sweet juice is a good source of potassium and iron. Apple cider is pure and natural with no sugar added. A 6 ounce glass has only 87 calories. Apple cider, like other juices, fruits and vegetables, contains no cholesterol. Pectin, contained in apple cider, has been shown to keep serum cholesterol levels down.
Fresh cider can be purchased at roadside farm stands, local orchards, and many supermarkets. When you buy locally produced cider, you help local food producers and boost our economy. So drink up!