Do you love apple cider? A glass of mulled apple cider can elevate any joyful experience and give your taste buds a delightful flavor ride.
As it is a non-alcoholic drink, many people stockpile them up for different purposes. However, since you get apple cider from fresh produce, you might wonder how long apple cider retains its qualities and flavors.
So how long does apple cider last? Does apple cider go bad? How to tell if apple cider is bad?
If you are finding the answers to these questions, you have come to the right place.
This article will answer all your burning questions regarding the shelf life of apple cider and how you can look out for signs that indicate unusable apple cider.
Apple cider can make your celebrations delightful, so taking good care of it will prolong its shelf life. So without further ado, let us learn how to preserve this fall staple.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last? Does Apple Cider Go Bad?
Commercial apple ciders appear in grocery stores seasonally as they can go bad quickly. The shelf life of apple cider depends significantly on the way you store it.
For instance, an opened apple cider will last for up to seven days if you keep it in the refrigerator. If you keep it in your pantry, apple cider is best for consumption within two days.
Sweet cider will keep its usual taste for about a week in the refrigerator, after which the fermentation process will turn it into alcohol, which might not be ideal for consumption.
While it might not kill you, it will lose the pleasant flavor that apple cider is known for and will taste more sour and alcoholic.
Unlike hard cider that usually doesn’t go bad, sweet cider needs some attention. Here are a few steps that you can follow to extend the shelf life of apple cider.
- Most manufacturers recommend storing apple cider in their original packaging to reap maximum peak quality. However, you can keep it in an airtight container to prevent deterioration of the cider.
- If you are storing apple cider out of the refrigerator, keep it in a cool and dark place.
- Keep the apple cider away from direct heat and sunlight. Warmer temperature can speed up the fermentation process and turn the cider into alcohol.
- Freezing apple cider can prolong its shelf life for about three months. Just make sure that you leave some headroom at the top as liquids expand while freezing.
Does apple cider go bad? Unfortunately, it does. Like we mentioned earlier, apple cider requires a lot of care and preferable storage conditions.
If your apple cider comes into contact with oxygen, airborne yeast can mix with the cider’s sugars and produce acid. This process turns the apple cider into alcohol and ruins the flavor.
How to Tell if Apple Cider is Bad?
Like we mentioned earlier, apple cider undergoes the fermentation process once it comes in contact with oxygen. The cider will turn darker, and you will witness sediments forming in it.
Similarly, apple cider can exhibit different signs that indicate that your apple cider has gone bad. So what are the symptoms of bad apple cider?
You can judge the state of apple cider with the help of your sense of taste and sight. Here are three noticeable signs that indicate unusable or bad apple cider:
- Discoloration. Apple cider can change its color and become darker during the fermentation process. If you notice a darker shade in your apple cider, it would be best to discard it.
- Foam development. Sometimes the fermentation process can develop a layer of foam. If your apple cider is developing foam at the top, it is better to get rid of it.
- Use your taste. One of the best ways to determine whether your apple cider is undergoing the fermentation process is with your sense of taste. If your apple cider tastes sour and more alcoholic, you may want to get rid of it. Although it is not harmful after fermentation, apple cider develops a sharp taste similar to vinegar.
- Sediments. If you find residues forming in your apple cider, the cider may have become unusable and lost its flavor.
If you have bought a commercially packaged apple cider, the manufacturer will provide a “best by” date to indicate the period it retains its peak quality. However, you can prolong the shelf life by following the above measures.
Apple cider can elevate several recipes with its rich flavor. You can use them to make delightful recipes such as boozy cocktails and fall-flavored oatmeal, or get creative by using them in fruit punch, slushies, or iced tea.
It can also go well with sweet and savory delicacies, and it depends on how you use it.
As we mentioned earlier, apple cider comes from fresh produce, and you would want to consume it within a week to get the maximum peak quality.
However, you can prolong their shelf life by taking good care and storing them in ideal storage conditions.