Orange juice has long been a popular fruit juice product consumed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. If you are looking for the right orange juice to use for your food and drink business, however, it would be in your best interest to know all about the process by which it is made. Orange juice comes in different forms as well, and you should be aware of these different variations, so you can choose what’s best for your business. Here are the basics of the orange juice production process: what you should know for your supply.
Orange juice essentials
Oranges belong to the Citrus genus, along with other citrus fruits, and they come in different varieties, including Mandarin, navel, blood orange, Valencia, and more. Orange juice can be made from a blend of these various types of oranges, which give the juice a distinctive taste and flavour. Choosing oranges for orange juice is usually based on the fruit’s maturity and the variety available. The fruit itself already contains some natural elements and materials which make the juice consistent and add to the juice’s flavour, and this includes water and various sugars, such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose, as well as organic acids like citric, tartaric, and malic, and compounds which enhance flavour such as alcohols, esters, hydrocarbons, lactones, and ketones.
Preservatives can also be added to the juice, including sodium benzoate and sulfur dioxide, as well as ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol. Sweeteners can be included, such as dextrose, corn syrup, honey, and other sweeteners.
The different variations
Orange juice has different variations. Concentrated orange juice has around 5 times the concentration of simple squeezed orange juice, and, when diluted with the use of water, it can make various ready-to-drink beverages and frozen juice. When orange juice is concentrated, its shelf life is prolonged, and it is more efficiently shipped and stored.
Orange juice has low pH levels, so it already has innate protection from the growth of yeast, mould, and bacteria. But it still often undergoes the process of pasteurisation, which further prevents spoilage. Once the juice has been pasteurised, it is best to fill packaging when the juice is still hot to make sure of its sterility. Whenever possible, glass or metal bottles as well as cans are pre-heated and then filled, but if plastic boxes or aseptic packaging (and other forms of packaging which cannot handle heat) are used, they should be filled in an environment which is sterile.
A good juice manufacturer should be able to give you complete details on their manufacturing process and provide you with the information you need regarding sourcing, production, fruit juice variations, and more.