It’s October and time to finally put to rest one of the most vexing seasonal questions of all: what is the difference between apple juice and apple cider?
Apple juice: Non-alcoholic.
Apple cider: May be non-alcoholic or alcoholic. Traditionally alcoholic in Europe the term “cider” referred to raw apple juice in the US for a long time in spite of its derivation from a Hebrew word meaning “strong drink” before the rising popularity of alcoholic cider.
Apple juice: Filtered, clear.
Apple cider: Generally unfiltered; may be clear or cloudy.
Apple juice: Pasteurized.
Apple cider: Generally also pasteurized but at a lower temperature or shorter period, giving it a shorter shelf life. Left alone will either turn into apple cider vinegar or applesauce.
Apple juice: Consumed year-round, mostly by children.
Apple cider: The alcoholic variety is consumed year-round, mostly by adults, while the non-alcoholic variety is consumed in the fall at church picnics by people who think it sounds kind of seasonal and also it’s cheaper.
Apple juice: Squeezed from the fruit using modern equipment, processed, and bottled within twenty-four hours.
Apple cider: Fruit and pulp are pressed in ancient stone building. The juice is then left to ferment for months or years while druids perform strange rituals over the barrels.
Apple juice: Usually served cold but can also be served hot and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.
Apple cider: Always cold because of its aura of menace. Sucks the life force from cinnamon sticks like Billy Zane in The Mummy.
Apple juice: Made from a variety of red delicious apples specifically bred for juice.
Apple cider: Made from cursed apples that grow in orchards planted in forgotten graveyards.
Apple juice: Apples are harvested by industrial means in large quantities.
Apple cider: Apples are harvested by hand by tough withered Steinbeck characters with names like Nick, Skipjack, and Hortense.
Apple juice: Found on grocery store shelves next to the powdered drink mixes.
Apple cider: Found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store next to the beer, but may also be sold to you in the alley behind the store by a tough withered Steinbeck character with a three-day beard, an eyepatch, wearing a tattered trenchcoat, and carrying an axe. Answers to “Hortense”.
Apple juice: May be made from concentrate.
Apple cider: You know it’s thinking something.
Apple juice: Family friendly; often sold in bottles adorned with cartoon characters.
Apple cider: “We only fly the flag of the Jolly Roger,” says Hortense, glaring at you.
Apple juice: Goes great with a child’s afternoon snack of graham crackers or ginger snaps.
Apple cider: Lurks in the darkness waiting for the proper incantations that will release the demons trapped in its depths.
Apple juice: May have added sugar.
Apple cider: “I’d be more concerned with what it takes,” says Hortense, wiping something from her axe.
Apple juice: Makes adults nostalgic for carefree summer days of running barefoot through the tall grass with friends.
Apple cider: Wants you to pour it out over a blood sacrifice performed under a full moon, thus opening a portal to the netherworld where dark and mysterious creatures still reign.
Apple juice: Has a diuretic effect.
Apple cider: The only thing known to dislodge that bubblegum you swallowed in third grade.
Well, that got pretty dark pretty quickly! I’m now eyeing my Honeycrisp apples with suspicion. By Halloween you should have me pretty well traumatized!
I think there is something really dark about apples. That’s why we go bobbing for them in the fall. And you know what they say about one bad one spoiling the barrel.
Tell Hortense that I just like that they keep the doctors away.
Considering your history with doctors I can understand having an apple a day.