One of my fondest memories from my youth is from weekends, when part of the breakfast routine involved getting freshly squeezed orange juice. My mother would get oranges out of the refrigerator and take out the juice extractor which took the form of a small dark red plastic juicer which had a white pulp catcher that ended up being one of my favorite things — something about the delightful texture of the pulp mixed with the sweet orange flavor was really fantastic as a treat after I had the juice.
Later in life as I lived on my own I would buy orange juice in cartons and in jugs but I was always careful to buy, as per the instructions of my mother, only one hundred percent natural orange juice and to never get anything from concentrate. Now it seems that the term one hundred percent natural is a bit of a joke, at least in the world of orange juice
It all starts with the stripping of the oxygen. Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But! Removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it’s all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these “flavor packs” to make juice taste like, well, juice again.
In other words, the juice that you are drinking that is technically one hundred percent natural juice is a farce that is basically juice that has been stripped of flavor and put back together again later, only a lot less naturally.
It is quite unfortunate that there is so much waste involved in making freshly squeezed orange juice. Living in an apartment building as I do, it is difficult if not impossible to compost my own kitchen waste and so it must go into the trash. On the other hand, every time I have a glass of orange juice that doesn’t come directly from oranges I can actually see if I wish to do so, I will be thinking of the flavor being removed and then being added back later — all in the name of the mighty dollar.