For over 75 years, Rees Fruit Farm has been pressing award
winning sweet apple cider.
Our apple cider is a by-product of the apples that we harvest
in our own orchards. We grow approximately 30 different varieties
of apples and harvest thousands of bushels each year. Every apple
is hand picked and thoroughly washed before pressing and bottling
the golden juice. The apples we use may be from any variety we
have available to process. Because of this, the juice may taste
different at different times of pressing. It is our policy to
press only edible apples and discard any apple that is undesirable.
Cider or Juice?
There is still much controversy for the definitions of each.
Because neither has been strictly defined, you may call it what
you want. In our research, we have found and continue to use the
Sweet Apple Cider: The natural juice extracted from any
variety of apples.
Hard Apple Cider: The natural juice extracted from any variety
of apples that is allowed to ferment to itís own alcoholic
Apple Juice: The juice extracted from apples of any variety,
thermally processed, possibly filtered to a clear liquid or
boiled to a concentrate with water added.
What is pasteurizing?
Pasteurizing is a process that eliminates bacteria and allows
foods to be safe to consume after being processed and stored. The
most traditional method of pasteurizing is to heat the product to
a level that will kill or slow the growth of the possible harmful
bacteria. Traditional thermal pasteurization is accomplished by
heating the food product to a certain temperature, holding it at
that temperature for a limited time, then rapidly cooling the
product to a safe storage temperature. Thermally pasteurizing
apple juice is damaging to the natural consistency and benefits of
the juice. Thermally pasteurizing apple juice separates the water
content from the sugar content and creates a clear/cloudy effect
with sediment. It will also damage the nutritional value of the
juice by breaking down the nutrients. Many processors will filter
this to a completely clear juice. The FDA has approved a new
process called UV treatment. This process uses a UV light and
cycles the juice thru a tube in which all juice is exposed to the
light and treated. This has proven successful in eliminating the
possible harmful bacteria from juice without heat and does not
alter the consistency or change the nutritional value of the cider.
The benefits from pasteurizing makes it is safe for all people to
consume, including infants, sick and elderly. Pasteurizing by UV
also allows all consumers to benefit from the nutritional value of
Simple, the FDA requires it from all fruit juice producers.
The FDA cannot control how the initial process of fruit juice is
handled, but can control the end result before it is purchased
from the consumer. The FDA requires pasteurization because of the
possible harmful bacteria that can come in contact with the juice
and become harmful to humans. The temperatures that juice must be
stored at can harbor and enhance the growth of certain bacterias.
E. coli, Salmonella & Cryptosporidium. These bacterias are
not naturally present in the raw fruit, but introduced to the raw
fruit by either animals or humans. Washing the fruit with water
before pressing will eliminate the possible bacteria, but the FDA
cannot rely on producers to properly handle the fruit and juice.
Do we pasteurize our apple cider?
Yes. Our main concern with pasteurizing is how it would
change our cider and the consumer response from that change. Our
customers like our cider just as it is, so obviously we didnít
want to change it. UV treatment allows us to meet the FDA
requirements and keep our customers satisfied with our product.
Do we use preservatives?
Because we do wholesale our cider to retailers in the area, we
do add a preservative, potassium sorbate, to the majority of our
cider. Potassium Sorbate is an all-natural preservative that has
no odor, taste or side effects. The amount of preservative used
per gallon is very minute, but allows the cider to keep about 10
days to 2 weeks longer than without. Because we are not required
to add a preservative to our cider, we also sell it without
preservative in our market.
How long will apple cider keep?
Our apple cider will keep approximately 10 days to 2 weeks
without preservatives and 3 to 4 weeks with preservatives. UV
pasteurizing does not change the length of time cider will keep.
If our cider turns before it is consumed, it will taste like
vinegar. Apple cider may also be frozen for up to six months.
Do we add anything besides preservatives to our cider?
NO. Our cider is strictly the natural juice from apples. We
do not add water or sugar or any other product except
preservatives to our cider. Even our Original Apple Cider Slush
is simply cider that is frozen. We do not add ice.
Original Apple Cider Slush?
Rees Fruit Farm can claim fame to the original Apple Cider
Slush because we were the first to ever freeze apple cider in the
slush machine. Amazingly enough, itís the sugar content of the
juice that freezes while the water content of the juice stays a
liquid. Apple cider is a perfect blend of both, so there is no
reason to add ice.
Sweet unprocessed apple juice provides the most nutrition of
all natural fruit juices. 8 ounces of apple cider is equal to
about 2 apples.