Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice – What’s the Difference?

This season is to enjoy apple orchards, donuts, farm stands, pumpkin pie, hayrides, apple cider, and donuts.

As we age, we start gravitating away from apple juice and moving on to apple cider, our older sibling.

What are the main differences? Continue reading to discover the key differences between apple juice and apple cider!

History of Apple Cider, Apple Juice, and Hard Cider

Crab apples were used to make cider thousands of years ago. These apples were not eaten because of their bitter taste, so they were only used to make cider. These apples weren’t eaten because of their bitter taste, so they were used for cooking and drinking.

Hard cider was first introduced in Europe in 1886. It quickly gained popularity and then made its way to America. Hard cider’s popularity waned over time, and soda and beer were introduced to replace it. We now have apple cider, apple juice, and hard cider.

Pro-tip: Cider is an alcoholic beverage not found in the United States.

So what is Apple Cider?

Apple cider is a sweet, non-alcoholic, unfiltered, raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered beverage made with fresh apples.

Fresh apples must be cut and pressed with a hydraulic press to make apple cider. Apple cider is not subject to typical filtration because it is raw and contains the “flesh” of the apple.

Apple cider has a medium to dark caramel color because of the large amount of pulp and other “mash.” Fresh cider must be kept refrigerated. Otherwise, the room temperature will cause fermentation to jumpstart and create hard cider. Fresh apple cider can be found in half-gallon and gallon jugs in the Midwest.

What is Apple Juice?

Apple juice is very similar in taste to apple cider. However, it undergoes both a pasteurization and filtration process.

The beverage’s color, taste, and composition change when heated. Apple juice will be transparent and lightened by heat.

Apple juice is often on shelves at local grocery stores throughout the year. Depending on its brand, Apple juice may contain added sugars or preservatives to enhance the apple flavor, extend shelf life, and make it more shelf-stable.

Consumers have several other options, including Trader Joe’s Unfiltered Apple Juice which contains fewer preservatives than the original and has lower sugar levels.

Is it possible to make your apple cider at home?

Yes, you can make apple cider at home.

Ari, our Good Nature chef and juicing expert, created this custom Apple Cider recipe. This apple cider recipe doesn’t need slow cookers, crock pots, strainers, or filters. All you need is your juicer.

Make your apple juice or cider the next time you go on the hunt for apple cider. This is a creative and easy way to try out different recipes and discover what goes into your drink.

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