How many times in your life did you ask yourself how long does apple cider last? I know I asked myself this question at least a few times in my life, and I’m only 36. Many times we store food or drinks in our fridge and we don’t really know how long can we keep them. In this post we will cover all you need to know about when does apple cider go bad and much more.
It is common knowledge that all packaged food and drink items have an expiration date. They have a fixed shelf life and are expected to become spoiled if not stored in the appropriate environment. You must be cautious before consuming such food and beverages as expired items can put your body at risk, along with serious stomach problems.
Apple cider is a fairly popular drink these days, and knowing about its contents and shelf life is equally important.
Does apple cider get spoiled? When does it get expired, and how can you tell? What can you do to make it last longer?
Let’s find answers to these common questions as we proceed.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last – What is Apple Cider?
For some, there might be a little confusion regarding the difference between apple juice and apple cider. First, let’s be clear that cider is the closest thing to eating an apple.
Apples are chopped, mashed, and pressed to extract the liquid. This extract is then pasteurized before being bottled up and sold. However, not all ciders are pasteurized. Cider has an appearance of a cloudy, caramel-colored drink that has both sweet and tart notes in its flavor. Apple cider is seasonally produced in autumn. It is also traditionally served on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays.
On the contrary, apple juice is just apple cider that is heated to 190 Fahrenheit and then bottled up. This heating up causes the change in texture, flavor, and color of the apple cider. So the final product we get is the clear and amber-colored apple juice. Any remaining pulp is also strained out.
Most importantly, apple juice is always pasteurized and has preservatives like potassium sorbate added to it. To alter the flavor, some artificial sweeteners are also added to enhance the juice’s taste. Companies that produce these beverages have different variations of what they consider to be cider or juice. Some companies simply use the cider label because the consumers prefer it.
Now that we know the difference, let’s get into some details.
How is Apple Cider Made?
There is a standard process to make apple cider. Ciders can be made from all types of apples, but mostly dessert apples are used. These apples are milled until they become pulp, and the juice is then extracted from this pulp. You can also add alcohol to the cider.
In alcoholic cider, manufacturers will add yeast or certain syrups to produce chemical reactions that will cause fermentation. However, no such additions are made in non-alcoholic cider. The juice is simply filtered and cooled. If the cider is supposed to be clear like juice, then the apples are dipped in ascorbic acid before they are mashed into pulp.
This prevents the sediment from the cider and keeps the color from becoming too dark.
There are also some simpler recipes that you can try to make apple cider at home. It’s always a good idea to make use of all those extra apples you have lying around during the fall season.
You can have it either cold or hot, whichever way you want. Some people prefer warm apple cider with a bit of cinnamon to give it an extra zing.
Not only is it used as a beverage, but you can also use it for cooking purposes. It contains pectin – a natural thickener added in jams to give them a gel-like consistency.
It can also be used in different sauces to give them a nice texture and add some gloss. It’s also preferred over apple juice since it lacks the artificial sweeteners and preservatives and gives a more refined flavor when added to food items without sweetening them.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last
So when does apple cider go bad? The main reason why apple ciders appear seasonally on the grocery store shelves is because they go bad fast. The fresh taste of sweet cider can be kept for only about two weeks if it’s refrigerated. After two weeks, it can become carbonated, and the fermentation process starts, turning it into alcohol.
When this happens, the sweet cider begins to turn darker in color, sediments start forming, and you can also observe froth on it. This is all due to the fermentation process. The taste of the cider becomes sourer, but it is still not harmful if consumed.
Tips to Make Cider Last Longer
Apple cider that has been opened will last about seven to 10 days or a few more if it’s kept in the refrigerator. However, if you want to extend its shelf life further, then you can freeze it.
To freeze apple cider, pour it in an airtight container. Make sure that you leave at least half an inch of headspace, as apple cider will expand when it is frozen. In the freezer, the cider can last for as long as 8 to 10 months in the best quality. It can remain safe even beyond this time if stored under 0 Fahrenheit.
To use frozen apple cider, you can defrost it by keeping it in the refrigerator for a while or using a microwave to thaw it. If you use a microwave, then make sure that you use all the cider immediately as it cannot be restored. If it was kept in the fridge, then it can be used for another 3 to 5 days.
The best way to find out if your cider has expired is to smell it and look if it has developed an odd flavor, odor, or appearance.
It is better to buy a smaller jug of cider if you’re not going to be able to finish it in time. If you think that your cider is about to get spoilt, you can get creative and add this beverage into creative recipes like sea salt apple cider caramels, fruity cocktails, or fall-flavored oatmeal. You can also try making pumpkin spice apple cider, which is a unique blend of pumpkin and apple, a beverage you’d certainly enjoy.
If you liked this post, be sure to read out article about how long can yogurt sit out and be sure to share with your friends.