Wondering if apple cider, hard cider, or apple juice is safe to consume on a gluten-free diet? Learn quick and easy answers here along with trustworthy gluten-free brands and ingredients to watch for.
Fall is the ideal time to enjoy a sparkling, refreshing glass of apple cider. Whether cold straight from the fridge, warm or mulled, it makes a seasonally apropos drink.
In recent years many breweries have began offering a wide array of gluten-free hard ciders as well. They make a delicious alternative to beer, and safe to enjoy!
However there are some ingredients and variations to watch out for before enjoying cider, juice, or hard cider. Let’s learn what to look out for!
does apple cider contain gluten?
Pure apple cider is simply washed and pressed apples. Therefore it is safe to consume on a gluten-free diet. That said, some mass produced brands run the risk of contamination if it is prepared on shared equipment.
Seasonally many supermarkets will carry varying brands of apple cider. Since it is not pasteurized, it has a shorter shelf life and needs to be refrigerated. Therefore, some companies add ascorbic acid as a preservative, which is gluten-free and safe to consume.
Flavorings may also be added to create “unique” apple cider varieties, such as salted caramel or holiday spice. These are a little trickier to discern if they are gluten-free because sometimes the ingredients list “natural or artificial flavors.”
While these are generally safe, they could also be derived from barley or malt extract. For maximum safety, especially for those who are highly sensitive, look for specifically for a “gluten-free” label.
does apple juice have gluten?
Apple juice is generally made with 100% juice or apple juice concentrate and water, so it is naturally gluten-free. However, the same precautions should be used as apple cider.
While ascorbic acid may be added as a preservative, and is safe, use precaution with added artificial or natural flavors. Some brands may also indicate it was processed on shared equipment.
is hard apple cider gluten-free?
Hard apple cider has grown in popularity with those on a gluten-free diet as a safe alternative to beer. It is made by fermenting apples or other fruit juices with sugar and yeast. The yeast used in this process is gluten-free and safe to enjoy.
However, it’s best to read labels, making sure other additives or flavorings have not been added. Also, there is a possibility that the cider has been bottled on shared equipment with beer, which is not safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
Below are some of the safe gluten-free hard cider brands to enjoy. However, it is not an exhaustive list. Specific company websites will publish a full ingredient list and should indicate if it was bottled on shared equipment.
- Angry Orchard
- Vander Mill
- Original Sin
- Jack’s Hard Cider
- Blue Mountain
- J.K. Scrumpy
- Cider Riot
ingredients to watch out for
Some apple ciders, especially mass produced ones, have flavors added. These can be labeled as natural flavors or artificial flavors. Most natural flavors are safe, but use caution if there isn’t a specific gluten-free label.
Artificial flavors are chemical compounds used to replicate flavorings. Like natural flavors, these may also be safe, but sometimes malt or barley extract are used in these compounds. If in doubt, refer to the company’s website or look for a gluten-free label.
fAQs about gluten-free apple cider
How long is apple cider good for?
Fresh cider that has not been opened will stay good for up to 2 weeks. Once it has been opened, discard after 7-10 days refrigerated. Eventually it will start to ferment and turn.
If the cider turns a darker color, smells, tastes sour, or is frothy, it’s most like starting to undergo fermentation and should be tossed.
Can I freeze apple cider?
Yes, cider can be frozen. Before throwing that jug in the freezer, though, you’ll want to pour off a bit because as it freezes it will expand, and the jug may burst. Seal again tightly and freeze up to 8 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying.
How can I use leftover cider?
There are plenty of ways to use up leftover cider besides pouring another glass. For gluten-free breakfast recipes, use it as you would use milk in dishes, such as in oatmeal, pancake batter, made into gluten-free syrup, muffins, or smoothies.
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