So you know those orange juices you buy from the store that say they’re 100% orange juice and not made from concentrate? You would think that would mean the orange juice is fresh squeezed and then bottled and shipped directly to your local grocery store. I was shocked to learn recently that there is more to our orange juice than meets the eye. Once commercial orange juice is squeezed it is stored in giant holding tanks. This juice needs to last for a year so it is viable on shelves and in consumer’s homes. To prolong the life of the juice the oxygen is removed from it. This renders the juice flavorless. Before the juice is bottled the juice companies hire fragrance companies to formulate flavor packs to add back into the juice to make it taste good and fresh (and like orange juice). Each major orange juice company has a signature flavor pack that they use to give their orange juice a distinctive taste. Because the flavor pack is derived from the essence of an orange it does not have to be listed on the carton as a separate thing, even though it did not come from any of the oranges used to make that juice.
Finding this out shocked me. I understand that products have to be prepared differently to meet the distribution needs of hundreds of millions of people that live in this country and like a glass of OJ. I have a problem with companies saying their orange juice is 100% fresh-squeezed when it’s not. I’m all for a customer having full and accurate information so they can make their own decisions from there. My personal belief is that legitimately fresh squeezed orange juice tastes a million times better than any orange juice bought from a store. Whenever I go to a restaurant for breakfast and see they have homemade orange juice on their menu I order it. If it’s not fresh squeezed it’s not worth it to me. The last two places I had fresh orange juice were The Waffle Shop in State College and Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas.
When I was browsing Wegmans today I saw a display for Sumo Citrus. It’s mostly a mandarin mixed with some orange. The guy handing out samples said it’s famous for its large size, being easy to peel, having no seeds, and being super tasty. I had one bite and was immediately envisioning making orange juice with it. It was so sweet with no trace of bitterness or the super chewy texture that some oranges can have. The one negative about this fruit is the price. One Sumo orange cost me $2.50. It was an exciting new purchase so it was totally worth it for me to spend the money to get to test it out. Obviously for weekly orange purchases I would be buying cheaper oranges.
So here’s the thing. My family has this amazing Vitamix and we absolutely love it. Diane and I have that thing blending spinach and kale daily. But the Vitamix can do so much more. I feel like I need to do a Vitamix challenge where I test out all of its food creation potential. While I know a lot of people love juicers I don’t like the idea of separating the fiber and pectin (which is super helpful for IBS) from the food. Unlike when I was younger I also love pulp filled orange juice. I don’t know what happened to be me as I got older, pulp would have made me gag back in the day, but now I absolutely love it!
I found this super easy 4-ingredient Orange Juice recipe on the Vitamix website and thought it would be fun to try.
1 whole orange, peeled and separated
1/4 cup water
Handful of ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional but delicious!)
The instructions are simple. Throw it all in the blender and then mix anywhere from a few seconds to a full minute depending on how pulpy you want it. For anyone with a Vitamix a minute is like a decade. I mixed for a little less than ten seconds.
Mmm mmm mmm. This orange juice was flavorful, it was fresh, and it tasted like good orange juice is supposed to taste. I thought the hint of vanilla was an awesome flavor addition. As you can tell from this photo my orange juice was super pulpy. If you like smooth and creamy orange juice I would recommend blending for the whole minute to obliterate any pulp. I would recommend about half the time if you’re a moderate pulp lover. And if you’re a hardcore fan like me (or just really impatient) about ten seconds is perfect.
I love oranges but have gotten away from drinking orange juice over the yeras because the taste in a carton is not my favorite and there’s so much sugar. I want to bring OJ back into my life in a big way by making it myself and keeping it in the fridge for when a craving hits. I love that it has the same nutritional value as eating the orange outright. And when I’m not using gourmet oranges the price is really cheap!
Question of the Day: Are you Team Fresh Squeezed or Team Store Bought? Can you taste a difference? What fruits and veggies do you like to blend?