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With fall weather fast approaching, now seems a good a time as any to answer this age-old question.

Meghan Overdeep
October 13, 2018

There seems to be some confusion when it comes to apple-based beverages, and now, with fall weather fast approaching, it seems as good a time as any to finally settle the score.

If you’ve ever found yourself standing in the grocery store and wondering what the difference between apple cider and apple juice is, you’re certainly not alone. It’s a question that’s been plaguing generations of thirsty Americans.

As it turns out, the only real difference lies in the amount of processing the liquid undergoes. Apple cider is fresh, unfiltered, and often unpasteurized. It’s also considered a seasonal drink and can be hard to find outside of the autumn months. Apple juice, on the other hand, is filtered and pasteurized, which gives it a longer shelf life, a sweeter taste, and a smoother texture.    

Massachusetts, the undisputed authority on all things apple, provides an eloquent explanation on its official state website.

"Fresh cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment."

It continues in detail: "To make fresh 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."

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Keep in mind, that because apple cider isn’t filtered and often isn’t pasteurized either, it only has a shelf life of about 10 days. It should also be refrigerated at all times to keep it from fermenting.

Massachusetts then goes on to outline the process for making apple juice. “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.”

So, there you have it. Bottoms up, y’all!