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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Cider from Whole Foods/Trader Joe's
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:52 PM   #1
Mead-or
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Default Cider from Whole Foods/Trader Joe's

Does anyone know what brands I can use from the grocery store? What preservatives do I need to avoid?

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Old 10-06-2011, 11:02 PM   #2
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Whole Foods is OK... My first two gallons are bubbling away just fine. My understanding is that pasturized juice will not clear as well as fresh pressed. I was in a hurry to see bubbles in airlocks... so I used it.

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Old 10-07-2011, 12:16 AM   #3
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Trader Joe's usually has great prices for specialty foods ... Whole Foods is a lot pricier but I like em too.
They'd be fine but personally, I'd try to find a local cider mill.

The number one chemical you need to avoid on the label is Potassium Sorbate. Though you don't want them either, any of the sulfiting agents like metabisulfite can be worked around if you absolutely have to, aired out etc. Whereas sorbate will sink you.

One of the few benefits of buying apple *juice* at the store is that they have already filtered the juice in an attempt to avoid haze while the product is sitting on the shelf ... this means you will have less chance of developing a haze as well. But this has removed of much of the tannins, polyphenols etc so the downside (and a significant one) verses fresh pressed cider is that all those components that provide the nuances of flavor will not be present.
I'd definitely go with fresh pressed (or even pasteurized) cider if possible, rather than processed juice.
Most products that are pasteurized on a large scale, especially those from larger producers, are "flash" pasteurized ... not "batch" pasteurized ... meaning that they have not been quite cooked as much in the pasteurization process.
Unpasteurized is better ... but pasteurized is generally ok if that's all you have available. "Juice" is ok, but "cider" is much better.

Another chemical in store bought apple products can be ascorbic acid. You can use a product that contains this acid for cider or winemaking but it is not preferable. My belief is that ascorbic acid ... like citric acid ... may predispose the cider to browning and slight spoilage flavors, when stored long term.

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Old 10-07-2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jacob_Marley View Post
My belief is that ascorbic acid ... like citric acid ... may predispose the cider to browning and slight spoilage flavors, when stored long term.
This sounds odd to me. You use ascorbic acid on fresh-cut apples to prevent them from browning. Why would it cause the cider to brown?

I'm not sure why either of these would cause spoilage flavors, either.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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This sounds odd to me. You use ascorbic acid on fresh-cut apples to prevent them from browning. Why would it cause the cider to brown?

I'm not sure why either of these would cause spoilage flavors, either.
Does sound odd.

The anti-oxidant protection that acid provides to apples and potatoes as they are sitting on the counter is a different matter than what happens to citric or ascorbic in wine long-term. And the long term mechanism is a bit different for both.

Citric acid has been specifically found to cause spoilage in the long term storage of wine. This is particularly the case where citric acid continues to be metabolized by malolactic fermentation in wines which have that have MLF (intended or otherwise) ... MLF doesn’t just act on malic acid but on citric as well. This is also why, particularly for wines intended to be held for the long haul, any intended or induced MLF has to be followed up with *very* prompt control with SO2 ... or if one is so inclined, Lysosome (pretty expensive stuff though). The longer one waits, the more byproducts of the metabolization enter the wine.

When Ascorbic Acid is oxidized, it produces hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)... an even quicker oxidizer than O2.
However ... Hydrogen peroxide will react with any SO2 (actually, any “free” SO2) ... and will become a stable compound (namely, sulphuric acid) thereby halting some of the oxidative effects.
Bottom line ... use adequate metabisulfite additions when ascorbic acid is present.

But how many of us use K-meta or somesuch in our cider?? And so ... I suggest avoiding apple products which include ascorbic acid.

Further, ascorbic acid is also suspected as contributor to other long-term oxidization as well, and while there is less anecdotal evidence, the laboratory evidence indicates that it does promote this long-period oxidization ... and so, some winemakers are avoiding it’s use.
Now, to be sure, ascorbic acid IS used in the wine industry as a short-term anti-oxidant (it has the ability to rapidly remove oxygen from juice and wine) however, like I say later on during longer term storage it appears to act as a pro-oxidant. It appears that this is because on the backside, so to speak, of the oxidation of AA (technically what is happening), there are compounds produced that further oxidize wine.

After all this ... I’d say that the issues of these acids are much more an issue for apple wine than apple cider because usually most folks don’t hold cider long term after they make it ... though for those that do, it could be an issue.
But for mostly ... as seems to happen to much of our inventory ... “truly good and truly gone” <sigh>.

I do still use citric acid myself to “brighten” the flavor of wine if it’s a bit flabby.
But when possible I avoid it in things I think I’m going to hold. The fact that I make very, very little grape wine also allows me to be more nonchalant about the whole thing.

Regarding that post where I suggest to avoid it, it is really not that it is so wildly critical to making a passable cider ... but with the idea of trying save myself grief and adhere to *better practices* ... I try to avoid ascorbic when I can ... though not at "any price" ... when I’m looking for a really cheap batch of cider or wine that I intend to drink promptly ... the frozen concentrated apple juice I buy is about $1.25 a 12oz frozen can ... it does contain ascorbic acid ... though many other brands do not.
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:04 PM   #6
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Wow! Thanks. I never knew.

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Old 10-13-2011, 10:24 AM   #7
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The TJs FRESH apple juice makes a damn good cider. I'm sure that their shelf apple juice would work well too, but the stuff that they keep in the cold section has produced some of the best cider that I've made. It is very sweet, however.

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