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Apple cider is raw juice that comes from crushed apples. The beverage is non-alcoholic, naturally sweet, and unfiltered, which means it still carries pulp from the mashed apples. This factor makes apple cider different from the juice. Apple juice is just cider that’s filtered. However, most store-bought apple juices are sweetened with sugar, and pasteurized to make them last longer.
That said, Apple juice is not the same as apple cider vinegar. Cider vinegar is the fermented version of apple cider that contains a mixture of crushed apples, water, yeast, and acetic acid. This mixture is what makes ACV sour, whereas apple juice and cider are sweet. If what you’re looking for in the grocery store is apple cider, we’ll show you the right aisles and stores to check for it.
What aisle is the apple cider in?
Apple cider is usually in the Refrigerator section of most grocery stores. Grocery stores keep it there to make it cold. Among the sections of the grocery store commonly overlooked is the checkout section. Sometimes, you will find apple cider or apple cider vinegar in a single or more units on a shelf behind the cashier. That’s where stores keep seasonal items. Apple cider or cider vinegar are mostly produced in autumn (also known as ‘Fall’) during Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s Eve. Autumn starts in September and ends in December.
You may be wondering why the apple cider is not in the Refrigerator with the rest, it’s because some brands of apple cider are pasteurized and shelf-staple. Freshly pressed apple cider is unpasteurised and doesn’t have a long shelf life. For this reason, many manufacturers pasteurize it to last longer. Pasteurized foods have been exposed to heat to kill bacteria that raw foods normally carry. Meanwhile, unpasteurised foods have not been exposed to heat and are sold or consumed raw.
You’ll know if your cider is unpasteurised if it has a fizzy or alcoholic taste, which indicates that fermentation has begun. The taste of fresh apple cider is a mixture of sweet, tart, and tangier flavor than apple juice. Since grocery store layouts change frequently, and vary across locations, you may find the Refrigerator section within the Produce aisle or as its own independent aisle away from fresh produce.
If your local grocery store or supermarket has a Beverages aisle, you can find apple cider there on shelves. That section is where all the light drinks you can eat with your lunch or alone are. For example, energy drinks, juices, soda, teas or coffee, and more.
The best stores to buy apple cider from
The stores listed below sell the best brands of apple cider. Some of them have online locators to help you find the right aisle in your region as store layouts continuously change. Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s are among the few that don’t offer delivery options on their website. Hence, you may need to use a food delivery app to shop conveniently.
Since apple cider is a beverage and you can consume it, it’s eligible for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card purchase. We have a guide that lists what you can or can’t buy with EBT cards. Don’t know what EBT cards are and how they work? Read our explainer article on how to apply for the electronic food stamps online.
Amazon mostly sells apple cider mixes, rather than ready-to-go apple cider. Apple juices and cider vinegars are also available on the website. Below are our top three selections of apple cider mixes on Amazon:
- Alpine Mix Cider sugar free drink mix
- 10 pouches in each box
- All the great flavor of our original Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Mix – without all the calories
- Relax and enjoy a cup, for only 10 delicious calories!
- Rich in Vitamin C
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market is the best store to buy organic and natural food items. They have the North Coast organic apple cider in the aisle carrying juices. Also, Amazon owns Whole Foods Market, and you can shop most of their 365 by Whole Foods Market brand from amazon.com.
You can shop Trader Joe's Spiced apple cider on Amazon. They also have plain apple cider in plastic half-gallon containers in the Beverages aisle. Currently, Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer delivery options on its own website. The only alway to buy stuff from then is to visit any of the brick-and-mortar stores near you. Alternatively, you can use delivery services such as Instacart or Shipt to order online.
Wegmans has its own brand, and the apple ciders are in the Produce aisle. They’re pasteurized, and you can buy them in full or half gallons. If you also need organic juices and lemonades, Wegmans has them.
Meijer sells the Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill brand that comes in a gallon, among others. The store keeps them in the Produce aisle. You can use their store locator feature on their website to find the right aisle and a nearby location.
Apple cider is in the Produce aisle. They sell in half and full gallons, and it’s available for delivery. Curbside pickup is also an option. Additionally, Kroger sells apple juice and vinegar.
If you can’t find apple cider in any grocery store near you, never substitute it with cider vinegar. Though they both come from apples, cider vinegar is acidic and lacks the sweetness that apple cider does. That said, it can make your meal taste awfully sour or different from what you intended. Instead, the best alternatives for apple cider include apple, lemon, and pear juices.
If you must use any vinegars, try white, balsamic, and red wine vinegar for their fruity tastes. Better still, you can make your own cider at home. Our previous post will teach you how to buy fresh apples in a pound, cup, or peck, depending on your recipe.
Moses Dzarmah is the founder of Grocerycorridor. Having worked in the grocery store for almost all his life. His colleagues called him the grocery hermit for his knowledge around the field that’s encompassing. Almost disturbing that he’d know every nitty gritty part associated to grocery stores. I decided to pen down as my colleagues will endearingly say with a slight mockery “wealth of experience”.