Composition of apple cider with cinnamon sticks, fresh apples on wooden table, on bright background
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Can You Freeze Apple Cider?

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Apple cider is an extremely popular autumn beverage enjoyed by millions every year. It is an unprocessed product, which has a ton of benefits. Unfortunately, it also means that it has a very short shelf life.

The obvious solution is to freeze it. But can you freeze apple cider? The short answer is yes. However, there is a right way to do it. This technique will help preserve the flavor, texture, color, and overall nutrients of the unfiltered juice.

In today’s article, we will explore different ways you can effectively freeze apple cider — and even more importantly, how you can preserve its flavor, color, and nutrients! We’ll also have a look at the best methods for thawing the juice.

What Is Apple Cider?

Many people confuse apple cider with apple cider vinegar. While both of these have things in common, they are very different. Consequently, they also freeze in very different ways!

So, what exactly is apple cider?

This beverage also goes by other names including sweet cider, soft cider, or cider. It is a very popular non-alcoholic drink mainly found in Canada and the United States. In other countries, it is more commonly called “cloudy apple juice.”

This drink is made from apples. But, the big difference between it and regular apple juice is that apple cider doesn’t get filtered or sweetened — it is a completely unprocessed form of apple juice.

Apple cider has an opaque color that ranges between golden and golden brown. It also has a very tangy flavor and as we mentioned, isn’t sweet like regular apple juice.

This product can be made from different kinds of apples. Whichever one is used when making the apple cider will completely affect the flavor of the juice!

Can You Really Freeze Apple Cider?

Now, because apple cider is a completely fresh and unaltered product, it doesn’t have a very long shelf life. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t even last longer than a week!

You do get some manufacturers that add chemical preservatives to the juice to extend the shelf life. But personally, it defeats the entire point of unprocessed apple juice.

Other companies boil the liquid to help remove impurities. But again, it alters the flavor and even consistency of the juice. It removes nutrients and ultimately gives you regular unsweetened apple juice.

So, can you freeze apple cider? Luckily, it is possible to freeze apple cider! However, there are a couple of ways you can do this. Each has its own set of pros and cons. And ultimate, only some methods may be suited to your needs.

What Changes Occur When Freezing Apple Cider?

Apple cider will last indefinitely in the freezer.

However, as we always mention, the longer an item is frozen, the more changes will eventually occur — no ingredient is exempt from spoilage!

When you freeze apple cider for too long or use improper methods, it will eventually form ice crystals. These crystals will cause the flavor of the cider to dilute and will also remove the color from the juice, making it look overall less appealing.

So, it is always best to use your frozen products within a month — even if they can last much longer!

How To Freeze Apple Cider

Now, let’s get to the good part — how to freeze apple cider! We will discuss a few different methods today and when they work best. They are all very easy and relatively effortless.

One important tip before freezing your apple cider, especially if you are making your own at home, is to cool the juice completely before freezing it. You can even chill it in the fridge before placing it in a container to freeze.

Method 1: In A Container

We didn’t really know what to call this method. It literally just requires the liquid to be placed inside of an airtight container and frozen. That’s it! This method is great if you don’t have a ton of apple cider you want to freeze.

You can also divide a larger batch into multiple smaller containers and freeze them separately. This will help prevent a big batch from having to be defrosted for a single cup of cider.

Just make sure that the container is completely free from any odors and stains. These will quickly affect the flavor and color of the apple cider.

If you only have a regular container and aren’t sure about how airtight it is, you can wrap it with plastic or saran wrap. This will keep the lid closed tightly. And, it will keep the liquid inside while keeping the odors outside.

Method 2: Freeze In An Ice Tray

If you like to make mixed drinks using fresh apple cider, freezing the batch in an ice tray will help you easily pre-portion your cider for future use. It is easy to freeze, doesn’t take up a ton of space, and is super easy to remove and defrost.

After the ice blocks have completely frozen, you can place them together in a big airtight container. This way they are secured and protected from any roaming odors!

Method 3: In Zip-Lock Bags

This method is one many professional chefs use in their kitchens. You can freeze the liquid and allow the bags to freeze in a flat container. 

Many people also like to vacuum seal special bags specifically for long-term storage and freezing.

If you use regular Ziploc bags, always buy freezer-safe ones. They are thicker and less prone to tear inside the freezer as the liquid expands.

This is an easy way to portion the apple cider and freeze the liquid in a space-saving way. Once they are frozen in flat sheets, they can be stacked on top of each other in one corner of the freezer.

Tips And Tricks For Freezing Apple Cider

  • Always store your apple cider in a freezer-safe container or bag. Some containers tend to crack when they contract too much in the cold freezer.
  • Glass is a great material to store ingredients in. It cannot be easily stained and it doesn’t absorb odors. It is also very easy to sterilize.
    • The one downside to using glass is that it becomes very fragile in the freezer. So, if you do freeze your apple cider inside it, avoid bumping it or exposing it to sudden temperature changes — the glass will crack.
  • Leave some room in containers for the apple cider to expand. If you don’t, the container will burst open or crack. 
  • When you store your apple cider, always ensure that it is completely cooled before placing it inside the freezer.
    • If you store semi-hot or even room-temperature liquid, it will form a lot more ice crystals. And as we have mentioned before, ice crystals cause the liquid to lose color and flavor.
  • To further avoid any ice crystals from forming in the liquid, you can wrap the entire container or bag in aluminum foil. The foil acts as a kind of insulator.
  • Always label the container or bag with the name of the product (apple cider in this case), the date it was frozen, and the estimated use-by date. This will help you use the oldest product first.

How Long Can Apple Cider Be Kept Frozen?

Apple cider has an almost indefinite shelf life when it has been properly frozen. But, while it won’t spoil in the freezer, it will lose some of its fresh qualities.

So, to keep the apple cider as fresh and nutrient-filled as possible, you should try to use it within one month of it being frozen. That will help retain the best flavor and color for the juice.

After a month, the juice will start losing its quality. Apple cider should always be used within a year at the most.

Again, it won’t spoil after one year, but it won’t be nearly as good as it should be. And what’s the point of using bland and colorless juice?

How To Thaw Apple Cider

The best technique for thawing apple cider is slowly. We always remove our blocks of cider from the freezer and leave them in a bowl in the fridge.

This way, the ice crystals slowly melt away. It helps prevent excessive flavor loss and preserves the color of the juice too. 

Once your apple cider has been completely thawed in the fridge it should be used within 2 days. You cannot re-freeze the liquid safely after it has been thawed.

If you are in a hurry, you can thaw the apple cider at room temperature. However, this cider will have to be used immediately. 

And, if you need to incorporate the apple cider into a recipe, you can melt it over low heat in a saucepan. Do not use high temperatures as they will change the flavor of the juice.

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