Apple Cider vs. Apple Juice: What's the Difference?

Here's what you're really getting at the farmers' markets

There comes a point in (most) kids' lives when they graduate from apple juice to its pinky-up relative: apple cider.

So why does one go in a sippy cup and the other in a boozy cider slushie? The answer varies depending on the region, but it comes down to the process that turns the fruit into juice.

Apple cider is made from apples that are washed, cut and ground into an "apple mash" similar to applesauce. The mash is then wrapped in cloth and pressed into fresh juice. The official description from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture says cider is "raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment."

On the other hand, apple juice undergoes filtration to remove pulp and is then pasteurized to extend the shelf life. Vacuum sealing and additional filtering help it stay fresh even longer.

Apple juice can sit unopened in your cabinet for months, but apple cider is perishable and should be refrigerated. Unpasteurized cider can even start to ferment and turn into hard cider over time.

Snag a fresh apple cider at the farmers' market while you can and don't forget the obligatory apple cider doughnut to go with it.