Apple cider (also called sweet cider or soft cider) is the name used in the United States and parts of Canada for an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples, usually from specialized cider apples. Apple cider is easy and inexpensive to produce. It may be opaque due to fine apple particles in suspension and may be tangier than conventional filtered apple juice, depending on the apples used.
This untreated cider is a seasonally produced drink of limited shelf-life that is typically available only in fall, although it is sometimes frozen for use throughout the year. It is traditionally served on the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and various New Year’s Eve holidays, sometimes heated and mulled. It is the official state beverage of New Hampshire.
In the United States, the difference between apple juice and cider is not well established. Some states do specify a difference. For example, according to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, “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. 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.” In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also regulates “unpasteurized apple cider”.
Recipes using Apple Cider