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Apple Cider

Nutritional Information

1 cup, apple cider

  • Calories 117
  • Calories from Fat 2.43
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0.27g0%
  • Saturated Fat 0.047g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.012g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.082g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 7mg0%
  • Potassium 295mg8%
  • Total Carbohydrate 28.97g10%
  • Dietary Fiber 0.2g1%
  • Sugars 27.03g
  • Protein 0.15g0%
  • Calcium 2mg0%
  • Iron 5mg28%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 4%

When In Season:

    Maryland: July (late) - September (late)

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Apple Cider on Wikipedia:

For the alcoholic beverage, see Cider. American-style apple cider, left; Apple juice, right.

Apple cider (sometimes soft or sweet cider) is the name used in the United States and parts of Canada for an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic drink made from apples. It is opalescent, or opaque, due to the fine apple particles in suspension, and may be tangier than conventional filtered apple juice, depending on the apples used.[1]

This untreated cider is a seasonally produced drink[2] of limited shelf-life enjoyed in the autumn, although it is sometimes frozen for use throughout the year. Traditionally served on the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, it is sometimes heated and spiced, or mulled.



Vintage farm yard manual apple press. The grinder fills one slatted basket, which is then alternated into position under the pressing screw.

While the term cider is used for the fermented alcoholic drink in most of the world, the term hard cider is used in the United States and much of Canada. In the United States, the distinction between plain apple juice and cider is not legally well established.[3] Generally those who produce soft cider consider the raw juice of apples to be cider, and any preservation process (eg. pasteurizing) changes the name to apple juice.

Some individual states do specify the 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.``[4] In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also regulates ``unpasteurized apple cider``.[5]

Unpasteurized cider

Small scale hydraulic apple press ready to go. Each load produces 120-140 liters (30-35 US gallons)

Apple cider is typically made from blends of several different apples to give a balanced taste. There is some competitiveness among local cider mills in apple country for the highest quality blends. Frequently blends of heritage, or heirloom varieties are used.

Today, unpasteurized cider is generally sold only on-site at orchards or small rural mills in apple growing areas. Cider aficionados seek it out for its authentic, unadulterated flavor, others for the purported health benefits of the unprocessed quality. In the absence of pastuerization, the naturally occurring yeasts are not killed and this can cause fermentation with time. Within a week or two refrigerated it will begin to become slightly carbonated and eventually become so-called ``hard cider`` as the fermentation process turns sugar into alcohol. Some producers ``harness`` this fermentation to produce ``hard cider``, and some carry it to the further acetification process to produce apple cider vinegar.

Commercial production

Cidering in a contemporary rural area mill. Custom batches pressed directly to bulk containers on demand.

Modern methods allow a formerly hand-made beverage to be commercially produced. According to the state of Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 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 between wooden racks. A hydraulic press squeezes the layers, and the juice flows into refrigerated tanks. This juice is bottled as apple cider.``

Early forms of production involved a man or horse powered crusher consisting of a stone or wood trough with a heavy circulating wheel to crush the fruit, and a large manual screw press to generate the pressure needed to express the juice from the pulp. Straw was commonly used to contain the pulp during pressing, although later, coarse cloth came into use. As technology advanced, rotary drum ``breakers`` came into use, and small scale manual basket style presses, such as the farm press pictured. Today nearly all small pressing operations use electric-hydraulic equipment with press cloths and racks both of polypropylene in what is commonly called a ``rack and cloth press``, and electric hammermill shredders. These modern systems are capable of producing 1 US gallon (3.8 liters) of juice from as little as 10-12 pounds (4.5-5.5 kg) of fresh apples.


Due to E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks from unpasteurized apple cider and other outbreaks from contaminated fruit juices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed new regulations in 1998,[6] and Canada followed suit in 2000.[7]

The bulk of cider production and sale fell under the umbrella of proposed 1998 U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations applying to all fresh fruit and vegetable juices.[8]

In 2001 the regulations were finalized, the FDA issuing a rule requiring that virtually all juice producers follow Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) controls, using either heat pasteurization, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) or other proven methods.[9] As a result, all apple cider sold in the United States, other than sales directly to consumers by producers (such as juice bars and roadside farmstands), must be produced using HACCP principles to achieve a ``5 log`` reduction in pathogens.[10] While the use of UVGI treatment and other technologies meet legal requirements, heat pasteurization is the most commonly used method.[11] After pasteurizing, cider is normally hot packed in glass (similar to home canning), and may be stored for extended periods without changing further in character, the same as the pasteurized apple juices on the store shelf.


``Hot apple cider`` or ``mulled cider`` (similar to ``Wassail``) is a popular fall (autumn) and winter beverage,[12] consisting of apple cider, heated to a temperature just below boiling, with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, cloves, or other spices added.

``Sparkling cider`` is a carbonated nonalcoholic beverage made from unfiltered or filtered apple cider. It is sometimes served at celebrations as a non-alcoholic alternative to champagne.

``Cider doughnuts`` are sometimes sold at cider mills, containing cider in the batter. Visiting apple orchards in the fall for cider, doughnuts, and you-pick apples is a large segment in agritourism.[13][14][15]

See also