WHATS IN YOUR FOOD…….ORANGE JUICE

You know, some things perplex me more than they would most people. I am always trying to understand everything, and never taking too much as it is presented.

For example, I believe in the English language. With all its nuances, and deflections and old  Anglo-Saxon derivations, and hidden connotations, it usually comes down to meaning what it says. If you take it literally, orange-juice should refer to —juice from an orange. Right?

IS IT REALLY?

An orange is a tropical fruit that is bright orange in color. Has vitamin C among other nutrients. See foods with more Vitamin C than oranges.

Juice is a liquid extracted from  a part of some kind of vegetation. Hence the explanation of what is orange juice.

I am not much of an orange lover. I find an orange when I am baking something that calls for orange rind. But the few times that I have juiced an orange, (usually for someone else) I somehow never managed to capture, the color, the thickness, or the vibrancy that I see in bottles.

Is it me, or is there more to orange juice?

sucking sugar caneFor the formative years of my life my primary experience of juice was the oral extraction of juice from a fruit. Sugar can juice was only poured when it was retrieved from the cane factory. “Sucking cane” was a skill from that era. But the juice literally went from the sugar cane into your mouth.

Or eating a juicy mango and having the pleasure of mango juice running down your hands, and making a mess of your clothes. Only at that time, it was not a mess, but merely a sign that you had a really good time with some fresh picked mangoes. Juice was a part of having a juicy fruit. These days juice seems to have taken on a whole new identity. Now, I can buy a form of guava juice, a form of mango juice, even sour-sop juice or pomegranate juice. (It still beats me how they come up with that). I can even find juice made with bananas, even though bananas have no juice. The old way may be inconvenient, but it is a better way to tell “What’s in your food”

Pouring juice from a bottle or can is a modern pleasure of expanded civilization.

As one commentator puts it …..” Juice removed from the fruit is just concentrated fructose without any of the naturally-occurring fiber, pectin, and other goodies that make eating a whole fruit good for you.”

Drinking orange juice is the most popular beverage after coffee.

People like to start their day with a glass of sunshine, and bring the goodness of the tropics to their lives.

Must be a good feeling to invite Florida, California, or Brazil to your breakfast table.orange juice 3

        BUT WHAT ARE YOU REALLY GETTING IN THAT BOTTLE?

All oranges are not created equal. Oranges vary in color, brightness, juice content, and orange flavor. There are about six hundred varieties of oranges worldwide, but a few varieties are used in commercial preparations.

Oranges, like most fruits are seasonal. They do not bear fruit year round. If you did not squeeze the orange, chances are that it was stored in some way. Freezing juice is an option that is pretty clear cut. The dehydration, storing and rehydration is pretty straight forward as well. Give or take a few enhancements that may or may not be super healthy. The non-concentration form of storing is a bit more complex. In order for the juice to be stored for up to a year, it is also pasteurized to kill the bacteria. The air and oxygen is then extracted to avoid oxidation in metal vats. In the process, called deaeration, much of the vitamins and other nutrients along with useful enzymes, flavor and taste are lost as well.

So what is left?  I have seen it described as “not much more than sugar water”

In order to get the vibrant, appealing concoction that appears before you, some professional people (Mainly chemists.) have to go to work. The right mix is added  to give each brand its consistent and unique taste and color. Vitamins and minerals are added for enhancement. One main additive is a chemical called ethyl-butyrate.

 (Ethyl butyrate is one of the most common chemicals used in flavors and fragrances. It can be used in a variety of flavors: orange (most common), cherry, pineapple, mango, guava, bubblegum, peach, apricot, fig, and plum. In industrial use, it is also one of the cheapest chemicals, which only adds to its popularity.)

But you won’t know what goes into it from reading the labels. You see; some of the orange flavor is extracted from orange skin and oils, so it is all natural. Start there, and nothing else has to be said. The truth is that the production of orange juice has more to do with chemistry than with nature.

Some of the leading orange juice producers are also the leading soda producers.

Most commercial orange juice brags of 22 grams of sugar for every 8 ounce serving. Do you think the oranges were that sweet? Do you think your liver and pancreas is going to have a little jolt after a glass of orange juice?

If you start with an orange, and you end up with juice, than it is perfectly logical to refer to it as “orange juice.”

If you are concerned about your vitamin and mineral intake, invest in a monthly supply of one of these supplements. 

 

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