The truth about orange juice

orange-871282749123hSB3I don’t know why, but during these cold winter months, orange juice is on my mind a lot.  Those thoughts lead back to the story of how the juice gets from orchard to your table…and I feel it’s high time I use this blog to spread the word.

My concern is with ready-to-pour orange juice that you’ll find in about any store.  Do you really think that’s fresh squeezed, yet available that way 365 days a year?  Forget the labeling.  It’s processed food like any other.  The deal is, the oranges are harvested and squeezed, then stored in giant vats until it’s ready to be bottled and shipped.  However, fresh squeezed orange juice goes bad quickly.  So, the oxygen is pumped out of those tanks.  Sadly, this also eliminates most of the flavor.  Thus, when it’s time to bottle and ship the juice, chemicals are added to add flavor.  Since these chemicals are derived from naturally occurring compounds in oranges, they aren’t considered artificial flavoring…so the labeling doesn’t draw attention to this fact.

If you want to avoid this artificial flavoring (“flavor packs”, it’s called), buy organic.  There’s a great chart that shows which orange juices do and do not use these flavor packs, over at Toxinless (short summary: if you’re not buying organic juice, you’re not buying 100% natural, real juice).

How do you avoid this?  Well I’m pretty sure that if you just buy frozen orange juice concentrate, it will have skipped this flavoring step.  I’m just not 100% certain of that, it’s tough to verify as this isn’t exactly something the industry wants to talk about.

You can read more about this over at WikiPedia, or check out the book Squeezed for more.  Follow this link for another good article on this subject.

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