Orange you glad today’s food holiday is fresh and fruity? May 4 is National Orange Juice Day!
It’s also National Homebrew Today and National Candied Orange Peel Day. I don’t like beer, and even if I did, it’s doubtful that I’d be brewing my own anyway. And candied orange peels? Do people really eat those?? Choosing to celebrate with a tall, cold glass of orange juice is what we in the biz like to call a “no-brainer.”
Orange juice is one of the most popular juices in the United States. Spanish explorers planted the first orange trees in St. Augustine, Florida in the 16th century. The warm climate and abundant rainfall proved to be the perfect growing environment, and Florida oranges became wildly popular. As delicious as the fresh-squeezed juice was, there was no way to make it available commercially, as it would only last a day before going bad. In 1910, an overabundance of oranges in California (which had also begun growing the citrus fruit) forced growers to destroy 30% of the state’s orange trees, as they had nothing to do with the excess fruit. Soon after, pasteurization was developed, allowing citrus growers to juice the excess fruit and ship it to grocery stores all over the country, where it could be stored for longer periods of time. Growers began touting the health benefits of vitamin C, and by the 1920s orange juice had become a breakfast staple in America, replacing stewed fruit (a popular British breakfast accompaniment) as the go-to choice. Frozen concentrated orange juice was invented in 1948, inspired by the lack of fresh fruit available to soldiers during World War II. The slang term “OJ” popped up around this time, referring to both the juice and, later, a wife-murdering-former-NFL-star-who-took-an-infamous-ride-in-a-white-Ford-Bronco.
We poured ourselves a tall glass of orange juice in order to celebrate the holiday!
- San Jose: Woman arrested, accused of trying to sneak ‘poisoned’ OJ into Starbucks fridge (mercurynews.com)
- Popular Orange Juice Drinks With Vodka (drinks.answers.com)