08 October, 2008

Real Cider Isn't Pasteurized

I love apple cider. Real apple cider: the kind that is pressed from freshly-picked apples which have been pulped and dumped into a press. It's crisp and carries the full flavor of the apple, and taking a drink of fresh, sweet cider is the closest a beverage will ever come to crunching in your mouth.

Traditionally, fresh sweet cider is truly fresh. It's pressed and bottled and refrigerated - no filtering and no cooking. A few years ago, though, some people took sick from drinking cider that had been improperly handled. The full might of the Food Police descended upon the cider industry, and because most New England cider mills are small, mom-and-pop operations, they didn't have the organization or money to fight the legislature. Because of this, all sweet cider sold in grocery stores today is pasteurized. Cider mills can still sell "raw" cider, but it must carry a "panic label" and has to be sold at the mill.

I don't like pasteurized cider. Pasteurization changes the flavor - it takes the "snap" away and gives cider a "cooked" flavor. It's like the difference between eating a fresh apple and eating applesauce. It doesn't bother me that lawmakers in many states took some action to be sure that cider stays wholesome and uncontaminated, but it does bother me that so many processors decided to just cave in and pasteurize all of their product because the government made it too onerous to provide the traditional stuff.

Luckily, I can still get unpasteurized cider. I have to drive a little further to get it, because I have to buy it at local cider mills and orchards since supermarkets only sell the cooked stuff, but the drive is worth it and at least I still have a choice.


Michele said...

I agree with you on the pasteurized cider. It's disgusting. I just won't buy cider unless it is fresh and local.
Then there is the problem I have with homogenized milk. I hate the stuff. I want the layer of cream on top of my milk. Thankfully there is an outfit in NY that delivers the good stuff to the health food store on the corner.

Stop by my blog when you get a chance, there is something there for you!

Anonymous said...

I currently have in my Fridg a jug of Apple Cider. It is unfiltered BUT pasteurized. It tastes like crap. But it is the only kind I can get here in the "Old South". I can't get the good stuff as there aren't any Apple Farms anywhere around to buy it from. I used to love good Sweet Cider when I was a kid [long long time ago] in Pennsylvania. BUT thanks to the FOOD KOPS [see Keystone Kops] No More shall I enjoy the real thing here in the South. I do know where I can get some VERY GOOD HARD CIDER though!