Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor0
How Fresh is your Orange Juice?
Most people like to enjoy a nice glass of orange juice with their breakfast. We’ve been told it’s a healthy way to get our vitamin C and even calcium. And dammit, it just tastes like liquid sunshine, which most people need this time of year anyway! But there is evidence to show that we’re being lied to about the freshness of our morning juice. In this post from Civil Eats and this post from The Consumerist, we learn that the orange juice we drink with breakfast is actually not so fresh.
Despite what the major juice companies would have us believe, it’s only during the late spring season that is orange juice truly fresh. The rest of the year the orange juice on grocery store shelves has been stored, deprived of oxygen and has had its flavors enhanced.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose ‘from concentrate’ or ‘not from concentrate;’ most major brands of juices are a mix of Florida-grown Valencia oranges and some Brazilian fruit too. Maybe even fruit from California. This is the same whether you choose Tropicana, Minute Maid or Florida’s Natural.
And here’s more: once the oranges are picked and juiced, they need to be stored. The reason ‘not from concentrate’ juice is more expensive is that it takes more time and energy to store millions of gallons of juice. The juice needs to be ‘deaerated–’ deprived of oxygen so that it doesn’t oxidize while in storage. But, deaerating the juice means that all the flavors disappear too. According to the Civil Eats article, the juice companies then hire fragrance companies (the same that work for the perfume industry!) to create what are known as ‘flavor packs’ to enhance the juice. Technically these are natural, being derived from orange peels and essential oils. But, “the packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine.”
Each company chooses their own flavor pack to stimulate the idea of fresh oranges, but if you’ve ever compared truly fresh squeezed orange juice to boxed juices, you know that the boxed juices taste a little too real… to actually be real.
Seems to me that sticking to fresh oranges or even fresh pressed juice from your local juice bar might be a better option. And think of all the paper, plastic and energy you will save! If you have your own juicer, you can make the best juice possible: stir fresh pomegrante juice, passionfruit juice or even ginger in to your OJ for an amazing drink. Or try this fruit and vegetable juice recipe from Eat. Drink… Betteer!
Read the original articles here:
The Cosumerist: The Flavor Of Your OJ Is A Chemically-Induced Mirage
Orange juice image from Shutterstock