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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Freshly Extracted Orange Juice

I recently wrote about using my new Bella High Power Juice Extractor for the first time.  I really liked the results and quickly saw that I could create unique juices that are unavailable in the grocery stores.  Unless you have a free source of fruits and vegetables for juice or you can find them at a good sale price, you won't realize a savings on the basic juices (eg. orange, grapefruit, cranberry, grape).  However, like jams and jellies, juices can be a blend made by stretching the more expensive fruit or vegetable with less expensive or free ones.  It is possible to make the new fruit and vegetable juices that are now popular for less money than store bought plus you can custom the blend to your tastes. 

orange wedges Store bought orange juice is made from concentrate as are most commercially prepared juices.  Once the oranges are juiced, the juice is stored in holding tanks that have had the oxygen removed for up to a year.  During that time the juice loses flavour.  Many of the popular brands of orange juice use a chemical process (flavour packs) to make the juice taste and smell like oranges.  Pulp and/or sugar may be added to the juice as well.  So, the orange juice you buy in the grocery stores is anything but fresh!

Freshly squeezed orange juice is delightful!  It can vary in flavour from sweet to sour depending on the variety of orange used.  I bought 7 medium sized oranges to test out the juicer. The skins may be left on all produce for juicing except oranges, grapefruit and tangerines as the oils in these citrus fruits is bitter and hard to digest.  I cut each orange into quarters then removed the peel.  The peel need not be discarded if the oranges are organic.  It can be dried and powdered for culinary purposes as well as a natural source of Vitamin C medicinally.  It can also be candied.  There is no need to seed the orange wedges for juicing unless you want to try growing orange trees.  Don't laugh!  I have three small lemon trees started from lemon seeds in a lemon I cut up for Caesar salad.

peeled orange wedges in juice extractor hopper
The peeled quarter wedges fit nicely into the hopper but I did have to refill it a couple of times.  The only thing different with juicing the oranges was needing to peel them.  The juice goes into the pitcher to the right while the pulp goes into the pulp basket (left).  A small amount of pulp can be added to the juice if desired.  The remaining pulp can be dried then powdered or it can go into the compost. 

The seven oranges were quickly juiced on low power..  It actually takes longer to disassemble the juice extractor for clean (less than 5 minutes) than it does to extract the juice.   At this point the juice is ready to be enjoyed!

freshly extracted orange juice
When the juice is first made there is a layer of foam on top of it because the stainless steel blade basket revolves at a high speed.  The juice quickly fills the pitcher which cause the foaming similar to what would happen if you shook a jar of juice.  This foam settles down rather quickly and has no effect on the flavour of the juice. 

The seven oranges gave a yield of almost 750 ml (3 cups).  I paid $2.50 for the oranges so the freshly extracted juice is definitely more expensive.  The taste is definitely worth the extra price!  It is also fresher than juice commercially made from concentrate.  It still is not 'picked that day fresh' as oranges as well as other citrus fruits are shipped to Ontario from Florida or California.  Clementines are an exception as they are usually imported from Morocco. 

orange juice yield
I'm only making the fresh extracted juices in the amount we will use within 3 or 4 days.   store homemade juices in mason jars in the beverage chiller of the refrigerator.  It's an easy and inexpensive solution as I have so many mason jars.  It also means I have taken one more step of reducing kitchen waste by eliminating a large portion of frozen juice concentrate containers (not recyclable) and juice bottles.  I usually use a Bernardin storage lid in the refrigerator by my supply is low so a recycled snap lid and ring was substituted. 

Even though the freshly extracted orange juice is more expensive and the price will fluctuate more than juice made from concentrate, I am confident is a healthier choice for us.  I can't wait to buy some oranges from the Indian River trucks from Florida.  They come up each spring with about as fresh of oranges as you can get here.  There are two drivers so the make the trip from Florida to Ontario within a day.  These oranges are so good, they sell out their truck with a day or two!  In the meantime, I have to use store bought oranges. 

I'm also planning on buying a juice extractor for our vacation home in Florida where I can get inexpensive citrus.  During the orange season, finding free fresh oranges is very easy.  In our resort, residents not wanting oranges from their trees put them in a box free for the taking.  I just found out we can bring oranges back from Florida so will bring some the next time we drive. 


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