When a customer first enters a grocery store in pursuit of apple cider, they will most likely be able to find it in the beverage section. Apple cider will probably be in a refrigerated aisle near the other juices or drink mixes, but some cider is shelf-stable.
In the fall, the grocery store may put their apple cider on display at the front of the store with the rest of the seasonal items.
All of the following chain grocery stores sell apple cider in their refrigerated beverage section:
- Whole Foods
- Trader Joe’s
Many of the international grocery stores above have their own delivery systems in place that also allow customers to order their apple cider online. Others have delivery options available through apps like Instacart and Doordash.
For those customers who prefer a fresher and more natural option, head over to a local farmer’s market. There are vendors at the farmer’s market that will often sell freshly pressed apple cider with locally-sourced ingredients.
Another option is to pay a visit to the apple orchard. Some apple orchards sell fresh apple cider using apples that come directly from their orchard.
Of course, there is always the option to make apple cider at home using fresh apples. To make apple cider at home instead of buying it pre-made, find the following ingredients at the grocery store, the apple orchard, or on the internet:
- Fresh apples, sliced into quarters
- A fresh orange
- Cinnamon sticks
- Packed brown sugar
Boil a large pot of water, have a strainer at the ready, and find the most appealing recipe on the internet to get started on some homemade apple cider.
Otherwise, set out on a trip to the nearest grocery store and head to the beverage aisle. Apple cider will not be difficult to find at local establishments in any city.
The best way to store apple cider is to keep it in the refrigerator. This will keep the drink at its freshest and tastiest quality for at least two weeks.
Even for those who purchase their apple cider off of an unrefrigerated shelf, it is always best to put it in the fridge upon arriving home. As soon as the container is open, it is necessary to put the cider in the refrigerator otherwise it will go bad within a few days.
For those who intend to drink the apple cider after two weeks, the refrigerator will not be too helpful. Instead, put the apple cider in the freezer.
Keep in mind that freezing the apple cider will cause it to expand. So, be sure that there are roughly two inches of headroom at the top of the container, otherwise, the cider’s expansion will cause the container to explode.
For those who make apple cider at home, store it in the refrigerator in some form of Tupperware or a jar. For homemade cider that needs to last more than one week, it should stay in the freezer rather than the refrigerator.
The same goes for apple ciders with limited preservatives.
To freeze homemade apple cider, begin by putting the cider in the fridge to cool it down. Once it is cold, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and pop it into the freezer.
There are several different ways to use apple cider. Of course, drinking the beverage hot or cold is great all year round, but especially to ring in the months of fall.
Bakers with an affinity for the classic apple cider doughnut can use the cider to make apple cider doughnut holes or doughnut cakes. Other desserts are also fair game for apple-cider lovers, such as bundt cakes, loaf cakes, sweet rolls, pies, crips, and cookies.
There are also more uses for apple cider that fall into the savory category. For example, an apple cider beef stew or an apple butternut squash soup are two great, hearty options for the fall.
Apple cider pulled pork sandwiches are another popular savory option, as is a pork chop with cider pan gravy. The drink even has a place in sweet potato and caramelized onion stuffed shells, as well as in the glaze for a roasted turkey or ham on Thanksgiving Day.
For an equal dose of both sweet and savory, try a pork and apple pie which serves up the main course and a dessert all in one.
Spreads are even possible. Apple cider butter is a sweet, tangy, and delicious way to top off dinner rolls.
For lighter fare, try an apple cider biscuit or a cider cheese fondue to dip apple slices into. Apple cider can also be in several alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Make a caramel apple float with vanilla ice cream or add some bubbly to the cider with some cinnamon-flavored syrup for a sparkling apple pie on the rocks. Apple cider jelly shots are even a possibility.
There are hundreds of recipes that use apple cider available online.
For those who cannot get their hands on apple cider and who cannot make their own, the closest substitute for the drink is apple juice.
Although the texture of apple juice is smoother and the flavor is slightly sweeter, it does include many of the same ingredients–Primarily, apples! Apple juice is a good substitute for cider in cooking, as well, and can glaze anything from ribs to ham.
Lemon juice is also a good substitute in cooking and baking, even though it is not as close to the cider. It has an acidic enough pH that those who are really in a pinch can use the lemon juice in cooking and baking for some fruity tones.
Other substitutes for apple cider include:
- Apple Cider vinegar
- Lime Juice
- Orange Juice
- Sherry Vinegar