Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ceci N'est Pas Une Orange Juice

To round out a brunch I made for visiting family over the weekend, I decided to buy orange juice. When I took a sip, I was surprised how much like orange juice it tasted, given the fact that orange juice isn't really orange juice any more.

I first had this realization thanks to my acupuncturist's blog, which referenced the book Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice. This excerpt from an interview with the author is what made me realize just how different the orange juice on the shelf is from what we think of as orange juice:

"The leading producers of “not from concentrate” (a.k.a. pasteurized) orange juice keep their juice in million-gallon aseptic storage tanks to ensure a year-round supply. Juice stored this way has to be stripped of oxygen, a process known as de-aeration, so it doesn’t oxidize in the tanks. When the juice is stripped of oxygen, it is also stripped of flavour-providing chemicals … If you were to try the juice coming out of the tanks, it would taste like sugar water. Juice companies therefore hire flavour and fragrance companies, the same ones that make popular perfumes and colognes, to fabricate flavour packs to add back to their product to make it taste like orange juice."

And that goes for the stuff they're still allowed to call not from concentrate, or worse, grove-style or whatever the latest, homiest qualifier is (smooshed by grammy and grampy?).

So it was surprising that the orange juice I bought at the grocery store still tasted more or less like what I think orange juice tastes like. Kudos, flavour and fragrance companies.

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