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Why doesn't orange juice taste like oranges?

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This is the first I've noticed it, 'cause I haven't had orange juice in a long time.  I've tried several different kinds of fresh oranges, and they're all really sweet.  Yet when I taste orange juice, it's always bitter and tastes more like orange soda than an actual orange.

Is there a reason or am I making myself look stupid?
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I assume the pulp is sweeter than just the juice. I know when I have high pulp orange juice (with no added sugar) it's sweeter than pulp free.  (Hence why I like high pulp better.)

i think its part because they tend to be concentrated and then rehydrated (or whatever) plus they add crap to them-- stuff to keep the color and preservatives etc.  fresh orange juice tastes wonderful... but i agree, most commercial juice tastes bitter and crappy.

Hmmm,  I didn't think about the difference between fresh vs commercial.   My fresh high pulp orange juice is "fresh" - from a local farm.

Well that was way over my head.  I can't believe I was naive enough to think they shoved actual oranges in the cartons, not chemicals.
It's for two reasons

1. Orange juice and fresh oranges with a low 'brix' reading i.e. low sugars, are cheaper than their high brix equivalents.   Manufacturers then blend the cheaper low brix product with the more expensive high brix product to create a finished product that meets their standard flavour profile and profit margin expectations.   Essentially, the cheaper the product you buy, the nastier it tastes.

2.  When oranges are pulped whole to make juice, the bitter oils in the skin get involved in the result.  When you eat an orange or squeeze them to make your own juice you tend to keep the skin out of the mix.

Have you ever tried Tropicana, "not from concentrate"?  It's very sweet.  I get the little cartons and they don't have pulp (hence no fiber) but they do have pulpy varieties.  I love that stuff. 

I find it sweeter than actual oranges which I don't really like so much.  I'm a sweet freak and prefer tangerines, mandarines and tangelos.  I also get blood red oranges for juice.  (2 blood reds to 1 grapefruit! makes a great glass!)

I also love the Tropicana orange juice thats not from concentrate. It tastes a lot sweeter, also Simply Orange also makes really good orange juice.

Is it natural orange juice, or something with artificial flavors? xD

Pasteurization, which involves heating, affects flavor although theyve worked with it to doing it quickly to reduce the loss of flavor.  At least it avoids risk of food poisoning.

I couldnt find an article Id read previously on it but found THIS which was in agreement that valencia oranges and oranges from florida produce a sweeter juice, something that is lost during pasteurization. 

Both articles also referenced Natalie's Orchid Island Gourmet as tops with Tropicana Pure Premium (not-from-concentrate) right behind it.

Try Simply Orange, if you can find it.  I think it tastes more like oranges than any other brand... and I'm a born and raised FL girl.  I get Simply Orange at my local grocery store in the produce section.  Simply Apple is awesome, too.

I'd rather eat the orange than drink it, but thanks for the suggestions in case I ever do buy the juice.  I was just wondering if my juice was always demented or if WalMart had some sort of miracle orange that tasted delicious.

I'm really lucky.  The small Mum and Pop grocery down the street from me has fresh OJ, strawberry banana juice, and a few others, that were fruit that morning.

After getting hooked on that stuff, I can't bear the OJ that's from concentrate any more, even though that's what I grew up on.

The orange juice I drink tastes like oranges. I guess it depends on the brand?

There are brands of packaged juice that are supposed to be "freshly squeezed" and not from concentrate (which are good), but do yourself a favor - buy a cheap plastic hand juicer that fits over a glass (I found one for $3 at Target), and for a treat get the juice straight from the orange.  There's nothing else like it.  Use the orange rinds for orange zest in recipes, or you can make candied orange rind slices and dip them in dark chocolate (mmmm...).

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Sadly, Americans have been fooled by the creative marketing and merchandising of the orange growers.

The short answer is that the bitterness comes from the fact that the oranges are picked green to begin with and then an awful lot of rind is squezed along with the pulp.

To prove it yourself is partly easy, partly expensive depending on where you live.

Buy an orange from the store.  Scrape out a small bit of the rind, both orange and white.  Taste it.  Bitter, isn't it?

Now cut the orange open and taste just the pulp and juice.  Nowhere near as bitter, but still acidic?

Now for the expensive part.

Go to Mexico or another country, in season, where oranges are ripened on the tree.  Try cutting open an orange in wedges and taste just the pulp and juice.  Have someone hand squeeze an orange.  I think you'll find that the fruit and juice taste exactly the same.

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