In the UK cider is always fermented apple juice and is alcoholic.
In the US and Canada cider is fresh apple juice that has just
been squeezed, nothing added and then is refridgerated. It
will last about 2 weeks and it will be cloudy. It becomes apple
juice when it is processed to to remove the cloudiness, pastuerised
and possibly preservatives added to increase its shelf life.
In the US when apple juice is fermented it is called hard cider.
Only true cider is legal. The problem is that the term cider
is often used to mean processed apple juice so caution is required
when buying cider. Some alcoholic cider may be legal but see
This is from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural
Apple juice and apple cider are both fruit beverages made from apples,
but there is a difference between the two. Fresh cider is raw apple
juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse
particles of pulp or sediment. It takes about one third of a bushel
to make a gallon of cider.
To make cider, apples are washed, cut and ground into a mash that
is the consistency of applesauce. Layers of mash are wrapped in
cloth, and put into wooded racks. A hydraulic press squeezes the
layers, and the juice flows into refrigerated tanks. This juice
is bottled as apple cider.
Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and
pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer. Vacuum sealing and
additional filtering extend the shelf life of the juice.
The flavor of cider depends on the blending of juice from different
apple varieties. The term "flavor" refers to the palatability
of a distinct apple juice flavor and the aroma that is typical
of properly processed apple juice. Cider makers are most particular
about concocting a blend that will create the desired flavor and
produce the perfect balance between sweetness and tartness.
Cider needs constant refrigeration because it is perishable. It
will stay sweet and unfermented for up to two weeks. Cider can
also be frozen, but be sure to pour off an inch or two from the
container for expansion during freezing.A Nutritious Alternative
Although a glass of cider a day cannot guarantee good health,
the sweet juice is a good source of potassium and iron. Apple cider
is pure and natural with no sugar added. A 6 ounce glass has only
87 calories. Apple cider, like other juices, fruits and vegetables
contains no cholesterol. Pectin, contained in apple cider, has
been shown to keep serum cholesterol levels down.