Apple Cider versus Apple Juice?
There is no legal standard in regard to the difference between apple cider and apple juice. There are 4 approaches to the labeling of the beverages.
The Process – a few states do have a distinct difference between the two beverages. In Massachusetts, their Department of Agricultural Resources states that “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.” Their cider is opaque and perishable.
Apple cider is unfiltered and at times unpasteurized. In unpasteurized apple cider, naturally occurring yeasts can cause fermentation, making the drink slightly fizzy and alcoholic over time. Apple juice in these states, on the other hand, is much more clear and pasteurized.
Picking times – many places refer to apple cider as the juice made from apples picked early in the season.
Preference – Some companies use the term cider solely as a marketing tool. Companies have found that some consumers simply prefer the traditional name for apple juice.
Taste – For drinking, do you like the sweeter, cleaner taste of clear filtered apple juice, or do you prefer the more robust, earthier taste of cider?