Do you ever wonder how your favourite foods and drinks actually make it from raw products to supermarket shelves? The answer is a long and often complicated process to make a product as universally available as orange juice. Orange juice is defined as the juice obtained from mature oranges, and orange juice sold in supermarkets is usually described as from concentrate or fresh. Here is a brief rundown of the process to create a carton of orange juice for selling in the store.
Selecting Raw Produce
Fruit Juice Manufacturers must first select the fruit they need for the manufacture of the juice. Naturally, oranges are the primary ingredient in this juice. Different types of oranges may be used but the most popular are mandarin, navel, and Valencia. Oranges are selected for their flavour and to create a juice that is sweet and not bitter. There are a number of different factors involved, too, that help to produce a better juice, including the addition of other ingredients such as sugars and flavouring compounds.
Harvesting the Oranges
Citrus fruits are commonly harvested from citrus groves, where the fruit is picked from the trees. The oranges are preserved as whole oranges to be sold as such, or are packaged for juice production. All fruit is inspected and graded before it can be sold and used. Bad fruit is taken out and only the high quality oranges remain to be processed into juice.
The juice is extracted from the oranges in a precise way in order to make sure that the finished juice product is sweet. It is important to properly remove the thick orange peel as there are bitter compounds in the peel that can spoil the juice. The juice extracts are filtered before passing onto the concentration stage.
The concentrated juice extract can then be diluted with water as it is five times stronger than un-concentrated juice. Concentrated juice is more economical to ship and to store, which makes it popular for juice manufacture. Many juice manufacturers will sell their products specifically as not from concentrate, however, and in this case the un-concentrated juice is used.
Orange juice has some natural preservatives but it also needs to be pasteurized in order to stop the juice from spoiling before it gets to the kitchen table. It is put into the correct packaging in order to preserve freshness and for easy transportation.