Alongside apple juice, orange juice is one of the most popular juices in Central Europe. It is produced by pressing oranges and mandarins and has a sweet-sour taste. Use of the designation “juice” is defined in the Fruit Juice Regulation. According to this, drinks may only be labelled as juice if they are produced entirely from the juice or flesh of the relevant fruits.
Commercially available orange juices are produced either from direct juice or from concentrate. To obtain orange juice concentrate, the aromas are first extracted from the fresh juice before it is evaporated to a seventh of its volume. The aromas are then added back and the concentrate is frozen for better storage and transportation. This concentrate is therefore also traded as “frozen concentrated orange juice” (FCOJ). This space-saving method of processing orange juice into orange juice concentrate has the disadvantage that around half of the vitamin C contained in the juice is lost, however. Orange juice concentrate has been manufactured since 1945, but the production stages have been continuously improved over the years, as a result of which the storage period and shelf life have increased considerably.
Orange juice may not contain any additives such as colours or preservatives. In accordance with EU directives 15 grams of sugar may be added per litre of fruit juice, however, if the fruit used does not contain enough sugar because of the weather in the production areas. This addition of sugar is referred to as sugar correction and does not have to be indicated on the finished product. As a result, even juices labelled “No added sugar” can contain sugar correction.
Orange trees bear fruit ready for harvesting three to four years after they are planted, and produce their greatest yield after 8 years. The harvesting period for oranges is between October and December. Harvesting oranges is very time-consuming and must be done by hand, since not all of the fruits on a plant are ready for harvesting at the same time. Machine harvesting is not possible. Oranges are cultivated in all tropical and subtropical climates. The leading country of production is Brazil, followed by the USA.