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Jan 11, 2001 02:57 PM

The bad and good news about apple cider

  • j

If you've tried to buy cider in a store this year, you've probably noticed that it is virtually impossible to find anything other than pasteurized cider, which is salmony in color, gloopy in texture and the flavor, weak, very weak.

I was just up at Cornell this week for meetings with the dairy folks there, and they told me that their pasteurized cider is none of the above, and that it passes the three glass, "tell me which one is different" test.

The difference? Most processors are running cider through a milk pasteurizer, which uses heat exchange plates to bump the temp up to 165F for 20 seconds, then bumps it back down. The Cornellians are doing a shorter hold time, like 4 seconds, which doesn't coagulate the pectins and cook out all the flavor.

So how long do you think it will take for this news to reach the cider industry, and then the store shelf? Don't hold yer breath!

(From Jonathan's Blog at




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  1. Ok. You've whet my appetite. Where do we get the real thing?
    or do I have to go up to the food science lab at cornell to find it?

    tell us, o great leader!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mr. W.
      Jonathan White, Cheesemaker

      Well, the dairy store at Cornell does indeed sell it-but I'm not sure they do mail order. But I'm pretty sure that Breezy Hill still makes and sells the real stuff, in Clinton Corners. Also, the Clarkes in Milton, and probably a lot of others.

      I grew up on Tice's raw cider in NNJ, ten cents for all you could drink-I was good for a few quarts when I was 16.....


      1. re: Jonathan White, Cheesemaker
        Steven Cangemi

        Yes, unpasteurized cider is easy to find in Dutchess and Columbia Counties. It is only available at farm stands (and Farmer's Markets in season). In addtition to those already mentioned, Hardemanns in Red Hook usually has sweet cider to sell. They have pretty good variety of squash on hand as well currently.

        As most of you probably know. Breezy Hill also makes a nice hard cider.

        Steven in Red Hook

        1. re: Jonathan White, Cheesemaker

          I did the Tice's thing at the same age, too. In Dutchess County, Montgomery Place does fresh-pressed cider during its fall fair, and I think the folks responsible run the stand on 9G at the 199 intersection.

      2. Well, yeah, anytime you cook the hell out of any fruit juice, be it orange juice or apple juice or anything else, your'e gonna kill the flavor.

        In NJ we can get unpasteurized apple cider, which has that very dark and very appley taste, during the apple growing season, and only from farm stands. Thankfully NJ has an abundance of farm stands. You gotta drink it fast though or it gets very fermented very fast. I actually like to let mine sit in the fridge for a few days, it gives it extra zing.

        However, in the off months, we're pretty much limited ot the commercial stuff in the supermarket -- around here the brand is Zeiglers -- which while better than refined apple juice, is totally cooked to hell.