The juicy details
Monday, May 25, 2009 | 11:08 AM ET
By Elizabeth Bridge, CBC Digital Archives
That morning glass of sunshine doesn't look so bright anymore. I've never had the illusion that the frozen concentrated orange juice in my freezer could ever approach the taste of freshly squeezed, but reading about a new book has really opened my eyes about OJ.
Alissa Hamilton is a food policy analyst and author of Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice. The book, which comes out May 26, describes in detail how the makers of shelf-stable, pasteurized and frozen concentrated orange juice process and market their product. The result is so far from a glass of fresh OJ that it hardly seems to deserve the name. Hamilton herself told the Toronto Star she prefers to eat a whole orange to drinking juice. According to a May 19 write-up in Maclean's, a spokesperson from Tropicana "dismisses the book as an 'outdated view of the industry' that doesn’t look beyond 2004."
Fresh from the tree: the best way to enjoy a glass of orange juice.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)
According to the book Better Than Homemade, a history of many brands of processed foods, frozen concentrated orange juice dates to the 1940s. U.S. government scientists developed it as a step in the production of orange juice crystals for the military, but with war's end the crystals proved unmarketable to consumers. Bing Crosby signed as a Minute Maid pitchman in 1949, and it proved so popular that it has become a year-round breakfast staple.
I've already been cutting back on orange juice for a couple of reasons. The price went up a couple of years ago when cold snaps and hurricanes caused orange shortages in Florida and California. Plus, I prefer my child to eat real fruit, rather than filling up on juice, and if she sees us drinking it she wants some too. So we drink it less to lessen her demands for it.
To boot, a comparison last year in Slate magazine's Green Lantern column brought home the reality that no matter the format, including fresh-squeezed, that juice uses a lot of energy and travels a long way from Florida or California before it reaches your glass.
Hamilton says Valencias – the best oranges for juice – are in season until the end of June. If I'm keen for a glass of sunshine, I think I'll bust out the old citrus juicer for a taste of the original.
(Update, May 27: Karen Mathis of the Florida Citrus Growers has contacted Food Bytes with more information about orange juice. Visit OrangeJuiceFacts.com for the industry's position.)
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About the blog
From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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- Friday, May 22, 2009
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