As a child growing up in peaceful gorgeous paradise Venezuela in the 70’s & 80’s (back then Venezuela was a paradise, today is hell) I’m used to having the most amazing freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, way before smoothies were a trend.
At home mom had the coolest stainless steel citrus squeezer ever, which was passed down from my grandmother. It required only manual labor and no cords to plug, so even during power outages, we were able to squeeze some refreshing beverages! Fresh oranges, lemons and limes still warm from the morning sun, were always present in our kitchen. Orange juice was never, ever bought ready made and bottled. Dad always said “there is nothing better than natural freshly squeezed juice” and he was right!
If you buy bottled orange juice at the grocery store, you will notice words like “pasteurized” in the front label. This means the juice has been “boiled” to remove bacteria, nothing wrong with it. But with this centuries old process discovered by Louis Pasteur himself, the orange juice looses its flavor and scent and sometimes its color, so manufacturers of orange juice have to put it back in somehow. The most “natural” manufacturers of orange juices might use some somewhat natural additives. In the labels of some bottled orange juices you will find in the ingredients list words like “essential oils” and “flavor oils” among many others, when they’re disclosed of course. Each brand of “orange juice” has its own flavor formula, that’s why each brand tastes different, and each bottle of orange juice from the same brand tastes always the same. Colorants are also added, which more than often aren’t disclosed.
Then there is the fact no matter how honest and ethical a manufacturer of orange juice can be, bottled orange juice will never have the same amount of fibers, vitamin C and other nutritional benefits freshly squeezed orange juice or oranges provide. Regardless of which brand of 100% orange juice you choose, it will never be the same as the real thing.
Next time you want to have a glass of orange juice, consider buying the oranges and squeeze them yourself. These days there are tons of manual and electrical citrus squeezers to choose from to make this task easier. And if you don’t like your orange juice pure, try diluting it with some water. The benefits of having a fresh fruit juice or smoothie are impossible to deny, including less plastic bottles in our landfills.