Oranges are the most commonly grown fruit tree in the world. A hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly the pomelo and the mandarin, the orange is widely grown in warm climes with Brazil and the United States (California and Florida) predominant.
The elementary school I attended in Dunedin, Florida happened to be located only a few miles from a Hood’s orange juice factory, now owned by Coca-Cola.
Many days, my classmates and I could smell the distinctive aroma of burning citrus peels from the belching smokestack. While the smell didn’t bother me too much, many of my classmates found it nauseating with some even choosing to stay indoors for recess on days when the wind was blowing in the school’s direction.
While burning citrus peel waste may not seem too problematic, the process of extracting the juice from the oranges in a factory setting definitely is. Conventional oranges are sprayed heavily with a class of pesticides called cholineseterase inhibitors, known to be highly toxic to the nervous system. An orange juice factory is able to squeeze up to 1,800 tons of oranges each day with the entire orange placed into the machines doing the processing – pesticides and all!
As if that isn’t enough to turn your stomach, acid sprays are used to ensure that every drop of juice is extracted from each orange including the oil from the skin. These toxic residues (not listed on the ingredient label) are served up with every glass of your “healthy” glass of supermarket OJ in the morning.
While orange juice can and should be a wonderfully healthy beverage, processed orange juice from the supermarket is clearly to be avoided!
How to best make orange juice a healthy choice? Surely, fresh squeezed from unsprayed oranges is the best choice, but you can take it even one step further if you’re game.
Orange juice is easily fermented into a delicious, bubbly beverage commonly referred to as orangina that includes a healthy dose of probiotics along with enhanced nutrition and enzymes too.
All you need to get started with homemade orangina is a dozen medium sized oranges – unsprayed is best. If you can’t easily obtain a bag of oranges, many healthfood stores sell freshly squeezed, unpasteurized orange juice in the refrigerated section. While this would be a good alternative, squeezing your own would be the most economical way to make orangina.
In this latest video (which also happens to the the 100th lesson posted on my Youtube channel), I demonstrate how to transform oranges into fermented orange juice that is a healthy substitute for processed versions from the supermarket. As a bonus, you can bottle the fermented orange juice into orangina if you are seeking an alternative to orange soda.
Orangina: Fermented Orange Juice
Recipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook
Makes 1 half gallon
12 unsprayed oranges of medium size (9 large oranges or 15 small oranges may be substituted)
1-2 tsp organic orange extract (sources)
1/4 tsp sea salt (sources)
1/4 cup liquid whey (click here for a video how-to; powdered whey cannot be substituted)
Squeeze the oranges to produce about 1 quart of unfiltered juice. Add water and mix well in a half gallon mason jar (I like these) taking care to leave an inch or two at the top.
Stir in the sea salt and orange extract. Screw on the lid and leave on the kitchen counter for two days. Refrigerate.
You may serve the chilled orangina plain or mixed with a bit of seltzer water to add additional carbonation. Alternatively, you can bottle the fermented orange juice to transform it into orangina – an orange soda like beverage. Click here for a video how-to on bottling homemade fermented drinks.
The orangina will last a month or two in the refrigerator and will develop an appealing orange/banana like flavor after a few days.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources and More Information