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May 16, 2005 08:06 AM

Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized Apple Cider

  • m

Can anyone tell me the difference between the two besides the obvious (one is pasteurized, one is not)? A local farm has hundreds of apple trees, and when speaking to the man who owns the place, he told me they sell unpasteurized cider in the fall. Is there a taste difference between the two?

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  1. c
    Caitlin McGrath

    Unpasteurized cider really tastes like fresh, juicy apples liquefied; its flavor and freshness (it has a short shelf-life because it's not pasteurized) are far superior to pasteurized cider, whose flavor you're no doubt familiar with.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      I absolutely second that comment!
      Mels --just hug and kiss and tenderly care for this farmer, because in my experience, at least here in NYC it has been increasingly difficult to find pure apple cider (I mean untreated cider.)
      The last farmer I knew was selling untreated cider decided to start using a special treatment, I think UV light or something that the farmer was told was the least damaging to the flavor. It's not pasteurizing, and even so, the difference is quite noticeable.
      Enjoy the untreated cider as long as you have it.

      1. re: Mar a

        Uv is pasteurizing but is less "altering" to the cider,but it still should not ferment- but I recently had a batch that did *surprise,surprise,surprise*. It has been quite a few years since the feds made it so that unpasteurized can only be sold at stands and farmer's markets,at one time the states could decide,but most had (by then) already made it impossible to purchase in markets

    2. Immense. The unpasteurized is alive (and, if you don't open it for 2-3 weeks, it will start to ferment very pleasantly), the pasteurized is dead and is basically cloudy apple juice.

      Apple cider lovers generally hate pasteurized cider, unless they (or their loved ones) have immuno-suppression issues where the risk of drinking unpasteurized cider is more salient.

      Due to overaggressive regulation by the USDA, unpateurized cider can only be purchased directly from the orchards.

      1. What he said. Some places used to sell unpasteurized at farmer's markets here in Boston (I guess under the argument that a market was direct from the farmer and so equivalent to the farm), but they've started to crack down on that, too. Cider lovers are left bereft. Particularly cider lovers who prefer cider a little fizzy and fermented. The French apparently have a number of terms for different levels of fermentation - I think the very lightly fermented is cidre doux? Someone here must know.

        1. Unpasteurized is far superior and i get it whenever i can. it does make me Run to the bathroom though. Lots of fiber i suppose

          1. For anyone who has had Cancer or an Autoimmune disease such as Lupus, Ulcerative Colitis, Krohn's Disease, etc., taste should not be a major concern in pasteurized s. nonpasteurized Cider because no one with any of these conditions should be drinking anything non pasteurized, regardless of "how good" it might taste. Nonpasteurized cider is made with apples that were missed in pickings have fallen on the ground and have mied with any dirt, manure, etc. E-coli is not a desirable and indeed very dangerous or deadly bacteria for these folks (and for anyone at times). Even the hard ciders alcohol content may not be enough to "kill" the e-coli bacteria that these apples could contain. Calvados certainly does and so does applejack! I'd prefer to have a pasteurized cider with less flavor that's a bit safer!

            1 Reply
            1. re: AnnieGrace

              There are those who should not drink unpasteurized cider, but for the majority who have no adverse reactions, there is no comparison for flavor. IMO, there is no reason to ever consume pasteurized cider nor apple juice for that matter, unless you simply want mildly flavored sugar water.