A glass of fruit juice can be the ultimate refresher and thirst quencher. Fruit juices, like their whole counterparts, are high in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. However, a juice’s freshness and processing can significantly affect its flavor and nutrient profile. The USDA recommends that Americans consume upwards of six servings of fruits and vegetables per day and a glass of juice is a convenient way to squeeze in extra servings. To fully reap the benefits of juice, you’ll want to consider some important factors.
Fresh or Frozen Fruit Juice?
To bring a juice product to market, manufacturers must ensure a consistent supply of fruits and vegetables. Some companies stockpile unprocessed or pureed produce in freezers. Freezing may not significantly affect a fruit or vegetable’s nutrient profile, but it can impart a different taste and texture to the end product. Manufacturers and purveyors of fresh juice must literally ‘follow the fruit’ to maintain a consistent supply. Half Moon Bay, CA-based Odwalla devotes itself to sourcing high-quality, seasonal juicing fruit from a variety of farms and vendors. That’s why regular Odwalla juice drinkers may notice slight changes in their favorite drink’s taste throughout the year. These differences are nothing to worry about; rather they are reflections of the freshness of the fruit.
Safety & Taste
In light of recent food safety incidents, it’s reassuring that major juice manufacturers adhere to stringent food safety regulations. To minimize contamination, fruits and vegetables are usually pre-washed before entering juicing facilities. After juicing, manufacturers utilize a variety of pasteurization methods to ensure juice safety while preserving taste and nutrition. Flash Pasteurization, a process by which juice is brought to a high temperature for a short period of time, kills microorganisms and makes juice safer for consumption. Manufacturers that utilize Flash Pasteurization, such as Odwalla and Simply, find that the procedure maintains juice color and flavor better than other pasteurization processes.
With their impressive nutrient profiles and refreshing taste, fruit and vegetable juices can be a welcome addition to a healthy diet. Just remember that all juices are not created equal – and be sure to choose one that combines great taste and nutrition