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Orange Juice: What’s Really in the Box?

Before you feed your libido with a vitamin C-packed glass of orange juice, you might want to consider reaching for the whole fruit instead.

In her recent book, Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice, Alissa Hamilton tells you what’s really in that not from concentrate box from the grocery store.

To keep it from oxidizing, manufacturers process Valencia orange juice to remove oxygen before it’s stored in huge tanks for almost a year at a time:

When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh.

So how can we make sure our daily dose of vitamin C doesn’t come with a “flavor pack” of chemicals? Fresh squeezed juice is a great option, if you have a shop near you that does that kind of thing. Of course, you can also juice your own. My favorite option, though, is the one Hamilton suggests in her post on the topic: eating the whole orange. As she points out:

It’s higher in vitamin C than a glass of processed juice and the flavor is incomparable. The thick-skinned, easy to peel and separate Navel has been marketed as the eating orange of choice. But Navels have a lackluster flavor compared to the Valencia.

Sampling a Florida Valencia is a timely and good experiment, if only to refresh your senses and awaken them to the taste that your favorite brand of orange juice strives to imitate. Sure a whole Valencia orange may be messy, but all things considered, so is a glass of OJ produced by any of the major labels.

That sounds just delightful! Way better than a glass of mystery flavoring, for sure!

[Via Organic Nation]

Image Credits:
Orange Juice. Creative Commons photo by ayelie
What’s in the Box? Creative Commons photo by manicstreetpreacher

3 comments
  1. Anne

    As someone who *loves* orange juice, I’m not sure I can give it up and I certainly don’t have the money to pay for fresh-squeezed juice or to buy my own juicer (or enough oranges to make up for all the juice I normally drink!). I just checked my OJ for a list of ingredients and all it says is “100% orange juice” and something about the juice coming from the US and Mexico. If it doesn’t list any additional chemicals on the back of the jug, should I still be worried? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. Becky Striepe

    Unfortunately, from what I understand they don’t have to list these additives, because they’re “derived” from oranges/orange oil. I totally feel your pain – I love orange juice!

    If you’re only juicing citrus, a manual citrus juicer might work for you. My folks had one of these when I was growing up, and I remember really enjoying using it. This one’s under $20 on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Citrus-Juicer-Reamer/dp/B001SH9O4C/

  3. Miriam

    I have tried both orange juice from concentrate and non, and I find juice from concentrate tasting better and fresher. I’ve tried many different brands, and I find “Minute Maid” the best and freshest tasting. It’s from concentrates. What bothers me is that they advertise a change in their juices. What change?

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