Orange Juice 101

How many oranges does it take to make a glass of orange juice?


Only three variables to be considered:


  • The size of the glass to fill (“normal” size is 8 oz.)

  • The variety of the orange(s)

  • The geographic region where the oranges are grown​


The most popular orange for juicing, worldwide, is the Valencia.


The Valencia orange is the most ideal piece of fruit to squeeze at home for several reasons:


  • About 5-6 medium size oranges will fill an 8 oz. glass.

  • You can squeeze a week’s worth, or more, of orange juice at a time.

  • Make certain to keep refrigerated  and do not let the orange juice become warm (heat-spiked).

  • The Valencia orange juice will taste great with terrific color and flavor.



Why not use any variety of orange for my orange juice?


The “other” popular orange is the Navel orange.

The most famous Navel orange, worldwide, is the California Navel orange. But the California Navel orange is grown to be eaten as fresh whole fruit and not processed into juice. The flavor of Navel oranges can vary greatly among the different sub-varieties of Navel oranges now produced. In addition, the time of the season affects the flavor. The sugar to acid ratio (the determinant of the “sweetness & flavor” of the navel orange) can range from 8:1 to 25:1. The 8:1 ratio makes the Navel orange taste and flavor too sour and the 25:1 ratio makes the Navel orange too sweet, with a musty, over-ripe flavor.


Be careful if you use the Navel orange for juicing.

The Navel orange can make excellent juice, but you need to consume the juice within a few hours of squeezing. Do not try to keep any Navel orange juice overnight in the refrigerator as it will be bitter tasting by tomorrow. This bitterness is due to an inherent chemical property of the Navel orange called limonin.



The orange juice I buy at the store always seems to look and taste the same.


The USDA sets a fairly narrow tolerance for the brix ratio (the sugar content of an aqueous solution), and some of the other natural “chemical” characteristics of the orange used as the standards for the grade of “USDA orange juice” that is available for sale in the US. This standard has come to be recognized and used by most of the world. Commercially the juice of oranges is “blended” together so the final orange juice product fits within the grade requirements.



The orange juice I squeeze at home is not always the same color.


Not all oranges are created equal.

Why so many different colored glasses of “orange Juice”? How could they all be from oranges? This is a valid and important question to anyone who wants to learn more about the juice they consume, and learn from the people with true experience. Squeezing each glass of orange juice and getting a different color is easy; but making every orange juice look the same-each day of the year- is more an art, like making fine wine. Oranges are grown in many regions of the world. At one time, one was mostly limited to the varieties available in the country, or at least the continent, one lived. Oranges, as have most all of the fruit and vegetables in the world, become ‘global’. Oranges are suited as a global product because if product integrity (proper handling, preparation, and cold storage) is maintained oranges can last for 2-3 months. It is possible, at any given time, the consumer may have oranges, from more than one country.


What does ‘oranges from another country’ mean to me?

First , ‘from another country’ means the average consumer has never, in history, had so much selection for so many fruits and vegetables, available on a year-round basis. Second, stringent rules and regulations are in place, world-wide, to assure the safety and quality of food products. Sunburst’s sourcing has always and will follow the safest and ethical practices of supply for our customers, with any product we ever offer. Finally, let’s get back to the color of the glasses of Orange Juice.

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Blend them altogether in One Giant Glass!

That would make all the glasses look and taste the same. But many variables influence the flavor profile of the juice, too many to list and discuss in depth and meaning. So, make the easiest decision for delicious juice. Buy oranges from us that will be the ‘right orange’ at “the right time of the year”.


"Go out on a limb – that's where the fruit is"

—Will Rogers, Humorist

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