What is difference between apple juice and apple cider?

For the most part, in the Washington area, apple juice refers to the clear, amber- colored, filtered and pasteurized product on the supermarket shelf. It does not need to be refrigerated before opening.

Apple cider refers to the cloudy, caramel-colored, unfiltered, pressed juice of apples. Most often, fresh- pressed apple cider is refrigerated when displayed in the produce section of grocery stores or sold at roadside stands.

On the West Coast, the term cider is rare. Clear or cloudy, on the shelf or refrigerated, it's all called apple juice. In Europe and Australia, all fermented and further sweetened apple juice is called, simply, cider.

Is all apple cider pasteurized?

All cider sold in supermarkets, such as the widely available Zeigler's brand, is pasteurized. At roadside stands, apple cider may or may not be pasteurized. Consumers who are concerned about the possible bacteria in unpasteurized apple cider should check the label before purchase.

My store sells apple cider that is not refrigerated. Is it safe to drink?

It may be highly pasteurized apple cider that has been heated beyond the minimum standards. It's shelf-stable and does not need to be refrigerated before opening.

Is fizzy cider safe to drink?

After several weeks, depending on storage conditions, cider develops a slight fizz that is the result of natural fermentation. According to cider makers, many older folks like fizzy cider while younger consumers do not. Regardless, it's safe to drink, but may contain traces of alcohol.

What is hard cider?

A popular drink in Europe, hard cider is fermented apple cider that has developed a measurable amount of alcohol.

-- Walter Nicholls