Friday, April 23, 2021

The History of Orange Juice


Do you enjoy a sweet, tall, cold glass of orange juice with your breakfast? Most of us do. But have you ever wondered why this juice is associated with the first meal of the day?

How It Started 

Once upon a time, the concept of “orange juice,” let alone OJ at breakfast, was little known. Oranges were mostly something people peeled and ate, rather than juiced. 

In the 1900s, however, smart citrus growers realized how delicious freshly squeezed orange juice was and started advertising the idea to consumers. They even began marketing citrus juicers alongside oranges to make the process easier. Here's where the American love affair with orange juice began.

(As for the “with breakfast” part? That seems to have been a clever way to encourage people to drink OJ more regularly! Of course, the nutrition and flavor of orange juice also add a lot to breakfast.)


During World War II, the U.S. military got into the OJ business. We all need vitamin C for health, but the lemon juice crystals being served to the forces to provide this nutrient weren’t a big hit. Since oranges are a great source of vitamin C, the military "powers that be" came up with a way to can familiar and enjoyable orange juice. This drink wasn’t much like fresh juice (there's a reason we don’t see canned OJ today) but it was drinkable. Americans were now used to a new form of orange juice.

The Next Era: From Concentrate

In the late 1940s, there was a new innovation: orange juice from frozen concentrate. This became possible due to the rise of home refrigeration. Personally, I grew up in an era when this was the most popular way to drink the juice. I can remember making it for my mom as a child: you mixed a little cylinder of slushy-sweet OJ in a pitcher with water before breakfast. Orange juice concentrate is still around, but most people don’t buy it that way anymore.

And Today

Then, in the 1990s, food scientists figured out a way to make “not from concentrate” orange juice easily available year-round in cartons and jugs. You may remember this transition, because it was a big deal. Suddenly everyone had cartons of OJ in their fridges all the time. 

Although most of us prefer this type of orange juice to “from concentrate,” it’s worth noting that carton or jug orange juice is actually quite processed. The juice is pasteurized and stored with the oxygen removed, which reduces the flavor. To make it taste more “orangey,” companies then add a “flavor pack” (derived from oranges) back in before packaging. While this is technically still just orange juice, it does mean that the product has a noticeably different taste than fresh-squeezed.

The last “innovation” in orange juice to be mass-marketed? Bottled, freshly squeezed, unpasteurized juice. (Looks like we've come full circle.) 

This version of OJ tastes by far the closest to fresh-squeezed, because very little has been done to it. However, it's not always easy to find. It’s also expensive, and its shelf life is short...just a few days.  

Fresh...The Original

Over the years, depending on your age, you've likely tried and enjoyed some or maybe even all of these forms of orange juice. I’ve had every kind except canned myself. But for me, nothing beats the taste of fresh-squeezed. Frankly, it's not even close. 

It’s true that it takes a little bit of work to juice your own fresh, premium oranges. However, the results are definitely worth it. Having a great juicer will help. Check out our juicer reviews--and no matter what the source, enjoy your glass of sunshine.


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Friday, April 2, 2021

Can Oranges Help You Get Your Sense of Smell Back After COVID?

A case of COVID-19 can affect the body in so many ways, causing damage to the lungs, heart, and other systems. But did you know it can also cause people to lose their sense of smell? This problem can last for weeks to months.

In terms of long-term health consequences, losing your sense of smell might sound minor. However, when you stop to think about it, this sense is vital.

Sense of Smell Serves Many Functions

Of course, smell is central to how we experience food and eating. Over 70% of taste is actually smell! This is obvious when you think about how food just doesn't taste good when you have a bad cold. 

But smell also serves many other functions in our lives. The sense of smell is a built-in “safety feature” for our bodies. It stops us from eating food that's gone bad, alerts us to the presence of smoke and fire, and also lets us know about toxic odors.

Smell helps us bond with others, too, and can have a lot of emotional content. For instance, think about the smell of your grandma’s house, or your partner’s shirt. In fact, losing one’s sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia, can even cause depression and anxiety.

A Weird Trend To Try to Bring Sense of Smell Back

Given all this, it's concerning to learn that over 80% of people who develop COVID-19 experience anosmia, at least at first. One study found that 15% hadn’t recovered 60 days later. Five percent were still in this situation after 6 months!

This condition can be really frustrating. It’s this frustration that has led to the rise of a viral trend on TikTok involving the burning and eating of our favorite fruit…oranges.

The trend seems to have started with a video about a Jamaican remedy for loss of sense of smell. The video features someone roasting a whole orange over an open flame. He rips off the blackened peel, then mixes the soft, warm insides with brown sugar. 

This is the snack you're supposed to try to bring your sense of smell back. I have to admit: I didn't try the remedy. However, I did consider what it must be like. Given all the volatile oils in orange peel, this process must release a lot of strong-smelling orange oils into the air. The orange on the inside has also got to be sweet and fragrant. 

Does it Work?

Being of a scientific frame of mind, I also found myself feeling skeptical. Sure, that roasted orange must smell great. But what does the sugar do? Why does the sugar have to be brown? Why not just smell some citrus essential oils? 

I’m not the only one. In articles I read about the practice, experts and scientists were pretty skeptical. They point out that there's virtually no proof that this would be effective.

Not Completely Off Base

Yet...some also said there could be a grain of truth to this idea. Why? 

Although burning oranges and mixing them with sugar is probably silly, smelling strong and fragrant aromas might not be a bad idea for people with anosmia. As it turns out, doctors do recommend a process called “smell training” to help people in this situation. 

In smell training, people with a lost or damaged sense of smell try smelling the same few strong aromas daily to “retrain” the nose and brain. Strong, pleasant odors like mint, rose, and yes, oranges or citrus are often recommended.

Lost your sense of smell? If toasting your oranges and eating them with sugar sounds good to you, it certainly won’t hurt. If you really want to work on this, though, you might want to try “smell training" for real. There are support groups online to help.

In the meantime, the delicious, unmistakable scent of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and other citrus is always fresh, sweet, and enjoyable in any context. Yum. 

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