Apple cider is a refreshing fall favorite made from apples that are pressed to extract their juice.
It is a popular drink during holidays and is often used in recipes for baking and cooking.
However, like any other food or beverage, apple cider has a limited shelf life.
Does apple cider go bad? How long does it last?
Fresh apple cider can last up to seven days in the refrigerator. For longer shelf life, it can be frozen for up to 6 months. Once opened, cider will spoil within 7-10 days even if stored properly in a cold environment. If the cider emits a sour smell and a fizzy taste, it’s not safe for consumption.
In this article, we will explore these questions in detail and provide a professional answer.
What is Apple Cider?
Apple cider is a non-alcoholic drink made from apples that have been pressed in a cider mill to extract their juices.
The juice is then processed and filtered to remove solids and pasteurized to prolong its shelf life. Apple cider is often an unfiltered version of apple juice and can have a more tart and robust flavor.
It has become a timeless staple at events such as Halloween-Autumn festivals as it complements the fall season.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last?
The shelf life of apple cider depends on many factors, including whether it has been opened, if it has been pasteurized or not, and how it was stored. Fresh, unpasteurized cider will typically last only a few days before it starts to spoil. Once opened and exposed to air, it becomes vulnerable to bacteria, mold, and fermentation.
Unopened Apple Cider
Unopened apple cider can last up to seven days in the refrigerator, but its shelf life can be increased by storing it in the freezer. Properly stored, apple cider can stay fresh in the freezer for up to six months. When in the freezer, be sure to leave half an inch of headspace since juice expands when frozen. When the time comes to consume, remove it from the freezer and it’s ready to drink after defrosting.
Opened Apple Cider
Once opened, apple cider should be used within 7-10 days. Although spoilage is gradual, it can continue to ferment and turn into hard cider, which is alcoholic. Spoilage of cider can be identified through its texture, look, and smell. If the cider starts to smell sour or has a fizz when opened, it’s not safe for consumption. The cider may also appear cloudy or have floaty particles.
How to Store Apple Cider?
In the Refrigerator
Apple cider should be refrigerated as soon as possible after it is purchased or made at home. Keeping apple cider refrigerated will help to slow down the fermentation process that starts as soon as the juice is pressed. Significant temperature fluctuations will cause the cider to spoil faster than usual.
In the Freezer
If you want to extend the life of your fresh cider, freezing it can be a good option. Putting the cider in a freezer-friendly container (leaving enough headspace )and keeping it in the freezer can preserve it for up to six months. It’s best to let the juice thaw in the refrigerator for a day before drinking.
In the Apple Cider Fridge
An apple cider fridge can extend the life of your apple cider for up to three months after they are packed. It has a temperature range in the 30-40 degrees F, which permits stability in cider. The major downside is solely for commercial usage as it can take up significant space in households, but it can come handy if you have large gatherings and would like to store your cider.
How to Tell if Apple Cider has Gone Bad
It’s essential to know when cider has gone bad in order to avoid food poisoning and the unpleasant taste it can produce. The signs to look out for include:
Apple cider that has become fizzy and develops bubbles is a visible indication that microorganisms are in the cider. Cider should not be consumed if fermentation has occurred.
Bad-smelling apple cider is unpalatable and unsafe to consume. If it smells foul, it indicates bacterial growth and the cider is spoiled.
Cider that has curdled or has a lumpy look is a clear indication that spoilage has occurred.
Mold growth is another sign that apple cider may not be safe or fit for consumption. The cider should not be consumed and should be discarded if it has become moldy.
Apple cider is an iconic fall beverage that has become a must-have during the autumn season. The freshness of apple cider cannot last as long as other beverages; it can only last up to seven days in the fridge. However, you can increase its shelf life significantly by storing it in the freezer. Upon being opened, it is essential to drink it within 7-10 days, proper storage methods might help to prolong its shelf life but won’t change the spoilage timeline. By following the storage methods and identifying signs of spoilage, you can extend the life of your apple cider and enjoy its flavor to the fullest.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.