Monday, April 11, 2011

Orange Juice - Suco de Laranja

Brazil is the world's largest orange producing nation in the world, even though the fruit is not native to Brazil. The orange is Asian in origin, and is probably a very ancient hybrid - a cross between two other citrus fruits, the pomelo and the mandarin. It is certain that it was cultivated in China as far back as 2500 BC. In some languages, such as Dutch, the word for orange can be translated into English as 'Chinese apple" highlighting the fruit's Asiatic origins.

Today, the bulk of the world's commercial orange production, much of which is converted into frozen orange-juice concentrate (known in the industry as FOJC), comes from Brazil and from southern Florida in the USA. Brazil's annual orange production is about 19 million tons, more than the total of the next three countries (USA, India and Mexico) combined.

Within Brazil, production is located primarily in the state of São Paulo which accounts for 80% of Brazil's production and 53% of the global market for FOJC. Interestingly, 99% of Brazil's total annual crop is exported, leaving only 1% to serve the domestic market.

Although the market for FOJC has not been growing as rapidly as non-concentrated juice (think Tropicana), most of the world's orange juice still undergoes the concentration and freezing process before it is exported from Brazil.

Though FOJC is the primary method of exporting orange juice from Brazil, it is not marketed domestically. I've never seen it in any supermarket in Brazil, and most Brazilians are not even cognizant of what it is. Brazilians do love orange juice, and drink a lot of it (even that 1% is a tremendous quantity of oranges) but it is almost always served fresh squeezed. Every juice bar in the country has the capability of make fresh-squeezed juice, as do most lunch and snack counters, bars and restaurants. If you order an orange juice, you can count on receiving a glass of fresh-squeezed juice. And if you've ever had fresh-squeezed juice, you'll know that it's incomparably better than even the best reconstituted frozen juice or even commercial never-been-concentrated juice. To confusingly misuse a metaphor - it's apples and oranges.

One word of advise for those readers of Flavors of Brazil who might find themselves ordering an orange juice from a juice bar or restaurant in Brazil: if you don't want added sugar in your juice, specify that you want "suco de laranja natural". Adding "natural" to the phrase indicates that you want pure juice, without added sugar or sweetener. Personally, even though I'm aware of the notorious Brazilian sweet tooth, I cannot understand why anyone thinks that naturally-sweet orange juice needs to be sweetened, but many do in Brazil. To visit Brazil and not drink fresh-squeezed orange juice would be a crime. So do so, but do try it without sugar - it's nothing but pure naturally-sweet juice and there's nothing better.

4 comments:

  1. I would like to add that "Laranjada" means a weaker orange juice, prepared with the addition of water and sugar.
    Suco de Laranja is only orange, no water added.
    Plus, if you look in the frozen foods area of most Brazilian Supermarkets, you will be able to find frozen Orange, Tangerine and Lime juice in large cans, the most popular brand is Lanjal ( orange ), my favorite is Tanjal ( Tangerine ) and you can also find Lime.
    They are not popular by any means, but they can be easily found in larger grocery stores in big Brazilian cities.
    My absolute favorite is Tangerine juice, "Suco de Mixirica" ;)


    Ray

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  2. Thanks again, Ray. I've seen those large cans in the supermarket freezer but never paid them much attention. I will now (and of course will report the results here on Flavors of Brazil. Incidentally, if you haven't seen the post on this blog about the various names for tangerine in Brazil, here's a link -

    http://flavorsofbrazil.blogspot.com/2010/07/ingredients-tangerine-by-any-other-name.html

    JAMES

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  3. Thanks, James, I will check it out!

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  4. Interesting blog..Due to healthy diet,there is an increasing demand for different kind of juices..There is Healthy competition in juice market across globe..Because of highest production of orange in Brazil,every juice center in the country has capability of making fresh squeezed juice..Thanks for sharing informative post juice market

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