Apple cider is a warming autumnal drink, but if you have more than you need, you may wonder if you can freeze apple cider. This guide will tell you just that!
Can you freeze apple cider? You can freeze apple cider to extend its shelf life for up to three months. Use a freezer-safe, airtight container to maintain the drink’s flavor. Don’t leave the cider frozen for too long or the beverage might lose some of its flavor and kick.
In this guide, I’ll explore further all the logistics of freezing apple cider, including how to do it, how to thaw frozen apple cider, and how long it should stay in the freezer. Before you freeze your apple cider, make sure you keep reading!
Can You Freeze Apple Cider? Here’s How to Do It
As I established in the intro, freezing apple cider is indeed an option.
Freezing is a wise idea if you bought more apple cider than you needed and you want to extend its longevity beyond the autumn season.
How you freeze apple cider is important, as is the duration, which I’ll discuss more in the next section.
If you don’t freeze the fruity, warming beverage properly, then it can lose both its texture and its rich depth of flavor. Here’s how I recommend you do it.
Transfer Cold Apple Cider into an Airtight, Freezer-Safe Container
The container you select for freezing apple cider can be anything of your choosing as long as it meets two criteria.
First, the container must be freezer-safe. If it isn’t, then it can shatter or break when left in the freezer, and you’ll have frozen apple cider slush all over your freezer.
Second, the container must absolutely be airtight.
When air gets into the frozen apple cider, it will cause the most detrimental effects to both the texture and flavor.
The apple cider should be cold before freezing it, not room temperature, and certainly not warm. When it’s cold, ice crystals are less likely to develop upon freezing it.
Freeze for 12 Hours
Put the apple cider in the freezer and monitor its time. It’s ideal to give the beverage at least 12 hours of freezer time initially.
Break Up Frozen Chunks and Refreeze
Like any beverage, when frozen, apple cider can become icy.
Since 12 hours may not have been enough time for the apple cider to fully freeze, its texture should be thick and chunky but not a block of ice.
Break down the pieces a little so they’re smaller chunks but take care not to lose any pieces as you work.
Repeat If Necessary Until the Apple Cider Solidifies
Now let another 12 hours go by and check on the frozen apple cider again.
If you feel like breaking it into chunks is warranted, then do it a second time.
Otherwise, give the beverage time to fully freeze, which will take longer than 12 hours.
How Long to Leave Apple Cider in the Freezer
Now that your apple cider has frozen solid, it’s time to leave it be.
How long will the autumnal beverage be safe to drink after spending time in the freezer?
Well, estimates vary, as some people swear that it’s only two to three months and others say it’s indefinite.
I suppose it could technically be indefinite, but you’d end up with a watered-down mess that doesn’t resemble the original beverage if you wait nine months or a year or more to thaw the cider.
Assuming you’re freezing apple cider to consume it again while it still tastes like apple cider, I’d err on the side of caution.
That is, you should only freeze the beverage for up to three months at a time.
Can You Freeze Apple Cider in a Plastic Jug?
You want to freeze apple cider, but all you have is a plastic jug. Is this suitable?
That’s hard to say. Some plastic jugs and other plastic containers are freezer-safe, but not necessarily all.
Before you pour your apple cider into the jug and let it cool, check the jug’s underside.
You should see a snowflake symbol to denote if it’s freezer-safe.
Most Rubbermaid plastic containers are fine to go into the freezer for weeks or even months at a time as well.
Even if your plastic jug isn’t freezer-safe, you can always transfer the cooled apple cider to a freezer bag.
You’ll need the heavy-duty kind that won’t easily puncture and can hold a significant amount of liquid.
How Long Does Apple Cider Last When You Don’t Freeze It?
You were contemplating possibly skipping freezing apple cider, but you’re not sure.
Should you forego freezing, how long will apple cider last? Not long!
Once you open it, even if the beverage is refrigerated, apple cider is good for about a week and no longer than 10 days.
That’s why freezing it is such a great option, as you can increase the longevity of apple cider significantly so you can enjoy it again later in the season!
How to Defrost Frozen Apple Cider
You’ve opted to freeze apple cider after all.
It’s been some time and you have a hankering for the beverage. How do you thaw frozen apple cider so you can drink it?
Here’s how it’s done.
Transfer the Apple Cider to the Fridge
Although thawing apple cider on your counter might be faster, it would also be messier.
Thus, retrieve your frozen apple cider from the freezer and place it in your fridge instead.
More of the flavor will come through when you drink the beverage after thawing, fewer textural changes will occur, and there will be no unpleasant aftertaste either.
Wait Up to 24 Hours
Since the apple cider is already frozen solid and the fridge is quite cold, thawing is not going to happen in a couple of hours.
I’d recommend waiting at least 24 hours and possibly a little longer depending on your fridge settings.
By that time, the apple cider should begin feeling more like a liquid and less like a solid.
If it’s still a little slushy, then I would advise you to give it more time to thaw.
Stir and Serve
Once the apple cider reaches a liquid consistency again, it will be ready to drink.
I would stir it a bit to ensure the flavor and texture are both optimal.
Then you can serve!
When the time comes to store the thawed apple cider (if there’s any left, that is), it will keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Does Apple Cider Turn Into Vinegar?
One of your concerns with keeping apple cider for a long time is that the once-tasty beverage could become a bitter vinegar. Is that going to happen?
While you can convert apple cider into vinegar, you have to ferment it until it becomes dry and then turns into vinegar.
This is an intentional process that requires a dark, room-temperature environment.
You don’t have to worry about frozen apple cider turning into a bitter vinegar even if you freeze the cider for long periods. It’s not going to ferment in the freezer.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Turn into Alcohol? Can You Freeze Alcohol?
Now, assuming you had apple cider vinegar for a moment, the conversion process from apple cider into vinegar does entail making sugars into alcohol during fermentation.
Some apple cider vinegars will naturally contain alcohol while others do not.
Can alcohol freeze?
You can freeze alcohol, but at which temperature becomes the question.
You see, alcohol’s freezing point decreases as its proof increases.
If the alcohol is 40 to 80 proof, then storing it in the freezer won’t cause it to freeze at the average freezer temperature because the beverage is so concentrated.
That’s not to say you can’t freeze alcohol at all, but it does require much colder freezer temperatures than what a common household freezer can usually accommodate.
Apple Cider Recipe
Making your own apple cider at home and then freezing it is another wise way to ensure you always have a supply of the stuff.
This recipe courtesy of Gimme Some Oven will make a tart, tasty apple cider!
Here’s what you need:
- Sweetener (half a cup)
- Water (16 cups)
- Fresh ginger (1 inch)
- Whole nutmeg (1)
- Whole allspice (1 teaspoon)
- Whole cloves (1 tablespoon)
- Cinnamon sticks (4)
- Oranges (2, peeled and quartered)
- Apples (10 to 12, medium-sized, different varieties, quartered)
Transfer the seasonings, cinnamon, and fruit into a big stockpot. Fill the pot with enough water that there’s an inch or two of empty space available near the top.
Transfer the pot to your stovetop or another heat source and turn the heat on high. Allow the water to begin simmering but not boiling.
Once the water simmers, turn the heat down to medium-low and give the ingredients in the stockpot two hours to soften.
When the fruits are considerably soft, you’ll only need a wooden spoon or a potato masher to break them down. You can do this right in the pot.
Put the lid of the stockpot on, leave the heat setting where it was, and give the ingredients another hour.
With a cheesecloth, strain the stockpot contents to collect chunks of spices, oranges, and apples.
Add a sweetener if you wish.
Pour and serve the apple cider.