Get Fresh with OJ

Share this post

Orange juice has been a staple of American breakfasts since the Jazz Age; it’s as American as apple pie. But Alissa Hamilton, a Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, punched a big hole in our orange juice cartons with an exposé of the industry. In her book Squeezed: What You Don’t Know about Orange Juice, Hamilton reveals that what is sold as “fresh” orange juice in the refrigerated section of the grocery store is not so fresh at all.

For years now, not-so-fresh juice has been obfuscated by advertisements featuring images of juice being poured in slow motion montaged over panoramas of shade-speckled orange groves. Lesson: if you’re buying juice in a carton, be sure to read the labels carefully. Here are some translations:

  •    Juice: The nectar from the tissues of a fruit or vegetable.
  •    Juice Drink or Cocktail: Beverage can contain as little as 5 percent juice.
  •    From Concentrate: Juice that is boiled down to remove water for shipping or storage and then reconstituted.
  •    Not from Concentrate: Juice has been pasteurized (heated) so it can be stored for up to 60 days.
  •    Squeezed from Fresh Oranges: Buyer beware of when they were squeezed and what happened to the juice afterward.

The main problem with juice sold in containers is that after the pasteurization or concentration process, the flavor and nutrients are lost and need to be added back in to make the juice palatable. Orange-juice makers do this by creating so-called “flavor packs.” According to Hamilton, North American flavor packs are engineered with high concentrations of ethyl butyrate to provide a fresh orange juice smell. This is done in accordance with federal regulations, as these flavors are considered “natural” and so require no special labeling. But Hamilton’s book is a sobering look at a drink we’ve become comfortable with and hardly think of as a “highly processed” food.

Juice as a thirst quencher is a new addition to the human diet; mostly we’ve consumed fruit and water to get the liquids we need. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C for an adult male is 90 mg; it’s 75 mg for a female. This is easily achieved by eating one medium orange (70 mg), one cup of strawberries (85 mg), or a few little mandarin oranges (60 mg)—plus the fiber is already included.

If you love juice, try making your own from fresh fruit. There are many kinds of juicers available, from old-school reamers, to handheld presses, to freestanding presses, to electric reamers, to sleek, commercial-quality automatic extractors. Valencia oranges are the best juicing oranges, but any kind will work. The fruit should be at room temperature; roll it on the counter first to soften it a bit (a good job for a kid). The juice of two oranges makes about one 4-oz. glass of the genuine article. And the container is 100 percent compostable!

Heidi Lewis writes about farms, bees, and fruit from her home in Sonoma County, CA. She’'s been with The FruitGuys since they were FruitKids.

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent Diet and Health articles:

Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How to beat the winter blues
January 17, 2019
5 techniques for New Year’s resolutions you’ll keep
December 27, 2018
How to practice healthy holiday eating at the office
November 13, 2018
Simple ways to keep your skin safe
July 17, 2018
Everything you need to stay safe from ticks
July 5, 2018
Zero Balancing may be the best bodywork you’ve never heard of
July 3, 2018
Five healthy food trends to explore
April 17, 2018
Creating space for social connections at work is good for health and good for business.
February 15, 2018

More recent articles:

Build a winning team through sports psychology
July 23, 2019
Summer muffin recipe
July 18, 2019
Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Food:
Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
Food:
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.