"Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."
La Garde Freinet - where Johnny Depp used to live, looking down at the village and the Mediterranean beyond, just around the corner from Saint Tropez, from our wonderful B&B at breakfast, confronting the perfect breakfast, dominated by a jug of orange juice. Paradise. Will we ever see and experience such things again? Not that we can't do something similarly paradisiacal here I hasten to say. No view like this though.
Anyway - orange juice is an essential at the beginning of the day, and has been for very many years now. My lovely husband brings me a glass every morning - a small one because the current thinking is that you shouldn't actually have too much orange juice - and anyway it's actually better to eat an orange. To which I shall come. In some ways it's actually a bit unusual to see that much orange juice in France, because the French do not really do fresh orange juice - not in the hypermarkets anyway. It's more likely to be pasteurised, long-life or somehow or other preserved.
Of course in my youth orange juice was sort of medicinal. I think it was dished out, either at school or at local health centres, and you could buy it at Boots the Chemist. It came in these medicine like bottles and it was concentrated with a very different taste to today's fresh juices. I'm not sure how it was made. But we did like it, and were only allowed very small amounts at a time. We may even have had it dished out in teaspoons - just like medicine. Because by then we know of the benefits of orange juice in preventing scurvy - and also we were at the beginning of that Vitamin C cures almost everything craze started by Linus Pauling. And we still take our vitamin C pill every morning as well as that small amount of orange juice. I know that has all been called into question of late, but I'm sure the scurvy thing is still relevant, although, of course, it's not just orange juice that cures that. I'm also sure that vitamin C is a good thing, and that anyway it's not going to do any harm. Plus it tastes good.
Recently the Australian Government was threatening to reduce the number of 'healthy' stars on fresh fruit juice from 4 to 21/2. How can that be you say? Yes indeed. The justification was the sugar - although they forgot that it was fructose in the fruit not sucrose. I believe that idea was abandoned because I see that our current Aldi container of fresh orange juice with pulp is 5 star. And that pulp is important, because actually you need the fibre from the orange as well - which is why it's actually better to just eat an orange. I used to eat an orange every day in the evening. I must start doing it again. Beautiful photo isn't it? I couldn't resist.
I'm talking about orange juice, because they are of course in season at the moment, and David bought a bag of them yesterday. Trouble is we already had quite a few already, so he decided to juice the old ones in his semi-posh cold press juicer.
I say semi-posh, because bargain hunter that he is, this is a Kogan version of much more expensive machines. I'm sure it works just as well as the others but I object to it anyway. I had no say in its purchase, I think it just appeared one day, and as you can see it takes up considerable room on my carefully planned appliance bench. So no room for other more often used machines. Furthermore after an initial flurry of usage - a couple of years ago at least, it has not been used, because he rapidly found that it was a real pain to use. Not only do you have to peel the oranges and cut them into fairly small bits so that they will go down the delivery chute, but it is also a real pain to clean and reassemble afterwards. Not to mention the very large amount of pulp (plus the peels) that is thrown into the compost bin. Wasting all that fibre. Somebody told me that citrus peel is not good in compost, although I can see no reason for that particular little theory. Anyway if you are going to squeeze your own orange juice it's much better done the old fashioned way.
You can get an electric version of the above, but I think the above is best. I have a stainless steel version of this and it is pretty good. Besides you get a bit of exercise as you squeeze the oranges. And really you shouldn't make vast quantities of orange juice anyway because it goes off pretty quickly - even if that is mainly in taste. So no to juicers, and I have to say that seemed to be the general opinion out there too. This is a typical comment:
"Speaking of pricey, juicers are expensive in time. They are extremely difficult and time-consuming to clean. Once you’ve made even just one glass of juice, the insides of your machine will be coated with a fine slurry of plant particles. The sticky leftovers get harder to clean the longer you let them sit. Simply put, maintaining juicers takes time. To clean a blender, all you have to do is fill it with water and a couple drops of dish soap and give it a whirl—voila." Chris Malloy - Real Simple
Most of these critics mind you were spruiking the benefits of smoothies and blenders - because of all that fibre.
"If you want to drink your fruits and vegetables, your spices and powders, your yogurt and peanut butter, consider the blender. The drink that results will be thicker, but that’s the point: you will be consuming valuable plant solids rather than discarding them. In doing so, you will be better honoring the planet, farmers, and ingredients themselves." Chris Malloy - Real Simple
And here are four examples - with just milk, with bananas, with cantaloupe and with carrots - these seemed to be the most usual combinations although I have to say that for a smoothie to taste good you just have to throw lots of fruit and some yoghurt and milk into a blender. Yum. I did this for a time, but for some reason stopped. Not sure I'm a fan of all those veggie ones though.
Here in Australia of course we are blessed with an abundance of oranges. Although I gather that orange farmers are increasingly under threat - largely because of cheap imports, drought, and squeezing on price by the supermarkets. Some have ploughed their trees into the ground. So do support them by buying Australian and by buying fresh juice. With pulp - that's important.
So what can you do with the juice when it comes to food? Well a number of things, but not quite as many as with actual oranges or orange zest. Zest has bitterness though, although heaps of recipes that I found were using blood and Seville oranges, both of which are bitterer than ordinary navels or Valencias.
"Using orange juice, rather than zest, will give a more subtle, gentle seasoning effect – your dish may not taste particularly orangey, just nicely sharp and subtly lifted; it can work well instead of the more conventional lemon in a salad dressing, for instance." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Navels and Valencias don't taste the same either, so if you are a real gourmet you might want to choose your orange with care:
"Orange juice squeezed from the fruit can be thin and metallic or sweet-sharp and vibrant, depending on your oranges." Nigel Slater
So what to do with your freshly squeezed orange juice? Number one if you now have vast quantities of juice and you are not going to drink it all before it has gone off, then make ice cubes of it - or icy poles I guess. The cubes can then be added to other drinks or anything really. Delish has a page with 10 ideas of what to do with orange juice, which might get you started - it included some scrambled eggs, salad dressings, lip balm, and deglazing pans - and marinades and glazes of course..
But the prize really goes to Greg Malouf - well the Middle-east and Northern African cuisines, plus Spain of course, are really the places to go when you are looking for things to do with orange juice. There are hundreds more things to do with the whole orange of course, but I tried to concentrate on just orange juice and found these from Greg Malouf, plus two from Nigel Slater. Yum. Greg Malouf first - Bitter orange cordial, Clementine Negroni granita, Negroni sorbet with blood orange and pomegranate, Saffron and blood orange brulée. Then Nigel Slater's Orange jelly with lemon and cardamom and Pomegranate and orange jelly
And look even the haute cuisine Maloufs when introducing the sorbet recipe said:
"We generally use good-quality fresh juice from a carton, instead of squeezing our own, which means we can enjoy this sorbet at all times of the year." Lucy Malouf
I do use orange juice every now and then in all sorts of things but really I just like to have my glass in the morning. Mind you I would like grapefruit juice even more. I remember an old boyfriend saying that "it cuts through the mucus in the back of your throat in the morning", which is not very romantic and bit yucky - but very true. Alas because I take anti-cholesterol pills I am not allowed grapefruit anymore.