Orange juice is a liquid extract of the orange tree fruit, produced by squeezing oranges. It comes in several different varieties, including blood orange, navel oranges, valencia orange, clementine, and tangerine. As well as variations in oranges used, some varieties include differing amounts of juice vesicles, known as “pulp” in American English, and “(juicy) bits” in British English.
These vesicles contain the juice of the orange and can be left in or removed during the manufacturing process. How juicy these vesicles are depend upon many factors, such as species, variety, and season. In American English, the beverage name is often abbreviated as “OJ”.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Commercial orange juice with a long shelf life is made by pasteurizing the juice and removing the oxygen from it. This removes much of the taste, necessitating the later addition of a flavor pack, generally made from orange products.
Additionally, some juice is further processed by drying and later rehydrating the juice, or by concentrating the juice and later adding water to the concentrate.
The health value of orange juice
The health value of orange juice is debatable: it has a high concentration of vitamin C, but also a very high concentration of simple sugars, comparable to soft drinks.
As a result, some government nutritional advice has been adjusted to encourage substitution of orange juice with raw fruit, which is digested more slowly, and limit daily consumption.
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During World War II, American soldiers rejected vitamin C-packed lemon crystals because of their unappetizing taste.
By 1949, orange juice processing plants in Florida were producing over 10 million gallons of concentrated orange juice. Consumers were captivated with the idea of concentrated canned orange juice as it was affordable, tasty, convenient, and a vitamin-C packed product. The preparation was simple, thaw the juice, add water, and stir.
However, by the 1980s, food scientists developed a more fresh-tasting juice known as reconstituted ready to serve juice. Eventually in the 1990s, “not from concentrate” (NFC) orange juice was developed and gave consumers an entirely new perspective of orange juice transforming the product from can to freshness in a carton. Orange juice is a common breakfast beverage in the United States.
Due to the importance of oranges to the economy of Florida, “the juice obtained from mature oranges of the species Citrus sinensis and hybrids thereof” was adopted as the official beverage of Florida in 1967.
A glass of orange juice with pulp
A cup serving of raw, fresh orange juice, amounting to 248 grams or 8 ounces, has 124 mg of vitamin C (>100% RDI).It has 20.8 g of sugars, 112 Calories and almost 26 grams of carbohydrates. It also supplies potassium, thiamin, and folate.
Citrus juices contain flavonoids (especially in the pulp) that may have health benefits. Orange juice is also a source of the antioxidant hesperidin. Because of its citric acid content, orange juice is acidic, with a typical pH of around 3.5.