Most of the time, minimally processed foods taste better and are better for you. But when even “healthy-for-you” foods like orange juice are tampered with, things get confusing.
Have you ever wondered why the OJ that you buy in the refrigerated section of your grocery store tastes a lot different than if you were to eat a slice of a ripe orange? If you haven’t wondered, it’s time to test this out and reset your taste buds back to what’s real.
OJ should taste like the juice of a fresh ripe orange, if it’s truly “fresh squeezed”. But here are some illuminating facts on the truth behind “not from concentrate, fresh squeezed” OJ:
–Valencia oranges, the oranges that are used for juicing by Tropicana, Minute Maid, etc., are only in season from March to June. Yet, we have cartoned OJ available to use all year round, and it tastes the same, no matter what month we’re sipping it. How can that be? Well, the truth is, you’re probably not eating last week’s freshly picked oranges, or even this year’s oranges, because in many instances orange juice made by large manufacturers is stored in huge tanks for up to one year (called asceptic storage). In these tanks, the oxygen is sucked out of the juice to keep it from oxidizing, or spoiling.
What happens because of this however, is the real fragrance and flavor of the juice goes missing. To compensate for this, producers throw in something called a “flavor pack”, a proprietary blend of oils and essences from oranges (and orange peels), to infuse flavor back into the juice. Each manufacturer develops their own “flavor pack” depending on what market they are selling to and the taste preferences of that market (Americans have different preferences than Brazilians, for example). It is because of these flavor packs that OJ from certain companies tastes the same, all the time, regardless of whether oranges are in season, or out of season! Because these packs are supposedly from oranges themselves, producers aren’t required to list the ingredients of their “flavor packs” in the ingredient list. I believe this should change.
–Secondly, although refrigerated orange juice is “not from concentrate”, this doesn’t mean it is that much better. Refrigerated juice is still pasteurized, which means it’s heated up to a very high temperature and then cooled, in an effort to kill off all bacteria and prolong the shelf life of the juice. Not only does this process rid the juice of many key nutrients (as they are destroyed under heat), but it takes away flavor and freshness as well. Truly fresh squeezed juice, or juice that comes direct from a ripe orange, with nothing else done to it, lasts several days but no longer. The idea that “fresh squeezed” refrigerated juices have expiry dates and shelf lives are on their own, tip offs to the fact that this kind of juice is not really “fresh” at all.
To experience this for yourself and Reset your taste buds back to real, unadulterated OJ, try my Orange Juice Reset in this video:
To learn more about the fallacies of refrigerated, not from concentrate, fresh-squeezed orange juice, check out this great article by Alissa Hamilton published on Civil Eats and also linked on Huffington Post.