Evan Kleiman's interview with Alissa Hamilton this past week about commercially-produced orange juice really stopped us in our tracks. The good news is that the OJ you buy in the grocery store is technically 100% orange juice. Are you ready for the bad news?
Alissa Hamilton is the author of Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice, and if anyone can be considered an OJ Expert it's definitely her! From what she says, it sounds like grocery store orange juice has become so heavily processed that it might be difficult to call it orange juice anymore. And its definitely not "fresh squeezed."
The truth is that orange juice can stored for up to a year before being bottled and sold. The oxygen is removed from the juice to prevent it from going bad, which also removes essential flavor and aroma compounds. To make it taste like fresh orange juice again, flavor packs developed by flavor and fragrance companies are added back in later on.
To be honest, this doesn't shock us all that much. What is more disturbing is how successful orange juice companies have been at marketing this processed food as fresh and natural. Hamilton says to pay special attention to packaging language like "squeezed from fresh oranges," which Kleiman points out is definitely not the same as "fresh squeezed."
The best way to be sure you're drinking the real OJ according to Hamilton? Squeeze your own. What are your thoughts?
• Also in this episode of Good Food: a recipe for Peach Brulée, tips for using up your farmer's market finds, and a segment on small-scale mobile slaughterhouses. Download the entire podcast from the Good Food website.
• Buy Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice by Alissa Hamilton on Amazon for $22.
Related: DIY Orange Smoothie
(Image: Flickr member ginnerobot licensed under Creative Commons)