Fruit juice concentrate is convenient. You can leave it in your freezer until you are ready to use it. You simply mix it with water, using the can as a measuring cup. Interestingly, the process to make fruit juice concentrate is almost identical to the process for making not-from-concentrate juice.
A manufacturing company inspects the oranges for ripeness and purity, then uses machines to extract the juice and filter some or all of the pulp. The company then heats the juice for pasteurization. It then separates juice that it will sell as liquid, not-from-concentrate juice, and frozen fruit juice concentrate. The juice set to become concentrate goes into a hot evaporator, which quickly heats the product, causing the water to evaporate, leaving only the concentrate. The company will then store the concentrate for later packaging or package it right away.
Most companies in the United States use a Thermally Accelerated Short-Time Evaporator (TASTE) in the final step of creating the concentrate. The heat required alters the taste of the juice somewhat. Japanese companies use a process that does not require as much heat. Some feel that this leads to a better-tasting juice concentrate.
If you drink a great deal of orange juice, the benefits of using concentrate are clear. The frozen concentrate takes up much less space in your freezer than several cartons of ready-to-drink juice. You can mix up the concentrate at your leisure.
You may find a difference in taste between juice from concentrate and juice that is not from concentrate, though both differ from juice you squeeze yourself at home. Some people prefer the taste of one over the other, but you may not be able to taste the difference. Fortunately, there is no nutritional difference between the different types of juices.
The Slate website reports that if you are concerned about the environment, the “greener” choice is a carton of juice that is not from concentrate. The process that the juice goes through to make the concentration uses a great deal of energy. However, you must read labels carefully. Some cartons of juice are made from concentrate, which is the least environmentally friendly option.
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