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Rant Alert!  You are strongly advised to stop reading now.

I continue to fail to understand why it is so popular to dump on commercial orange juice.  Really.  Why it it so bad, and what do the dumpers meaningfully propose as an alternative for most people including me, and truthfully, most of the time, for them too?

Of course fresh-squeezed at home is better.  So what.  What does one do for most of the year when one wants a glass of OJ in the morning.  You can't get juice oranges most of the year.  Even when you can, squeezing them at home, for all the brave talk, is something that almost nobody is going to do, because (1) it's expensive, (2) it's a job, and (3) the cleanup is a bigger job.  Let's get serious.  Just about everybody, including self-styled foodies and natural food junkies, is no more going to routinely buy and squeeze fresh oranges than they are going to kill and clean their own chickens.  Real people are going to reach in the fridge for a carton and pour themselves a nice glassfull.  End of story.

How many people are going to cut up a Valencia orange every morning and eat it.  Damn few.  For 99.9% of us, it's at most a few-times-a-year treat, and that's all.  And how many are going to stop by their neighborhood juice bar?  After all, everybody has a fricking juice bar right across the street.  Sure they do.  Why, here in Flagler Beach where I now am there are at least six juice bars, one on every goddam corner, open every day at 6am.  Give me a break.

Furthermore, not only does nearly everybody want to have juice right at home whenever they want year-round, they want (insist that) it always taste the same, that it has their preferred amount of pulp, they don't have to pay more than $3 or so for a 59 oz. half-gallon carton (that's a rant for another day), and they can keep it in the fridge for a long while and just pour some when they want it and then go on to the next thing.  There is NO WAY to achieve those consumer demands except by the methods used by Coke and Pepsi and the others.  The juice must be squeezed when it is harvested and be stored in gigantic chill tanks with oxygen removed so it's available year-round.  The taste must be adjusted using blends of juices and other orange components (oils etc.)  to achieve a uniform flavor over time.  They do pretty well by accomplishing all this using only substances derived from actual oranges, and selling it as cheap as they do.   A miracle of modern technology for chris' sake!  Oh, I forgot;  anything involving technology is automatically bad.

Nearly all of us, every day, eat foods that are a lot less healthy for us than OJ straight out of the carton.  In fact, I would hazard a guess that in some places there are many people who go through the whole day without consuming one thing that is more healthful than commercial orange juice. So why has it become such a big deal to demonize it?  There are many many foods higher on the bad food radar screen than this one could ever be.

If you want to squeeze your own, or trek to the nearest juice bar, etc. etc., fine go ahead.  That's great.  If you don't want to drink Tropicana, fine, don't.  But most people, who have lots of things to do to get through the day, have figured out that commercial orange juice, while certainly not perfect, is a pretty damn good compromise.

End of rant.  I now return to my normal milquetoast self.

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