Orange juice is seen as one of the healthiest drink options out there. Its high vitamin C content makes it a great option for breakfast or as a pick-me-up if you’re feeling sick. Beyond being just a healthy beverage, however, orange juice has a long and interesting history. Keep reading to learn all about this popular drink.

Fast Facts About Orange Juice

Here are a few fast facts you may not have known about your favorite juice:

  • Orange juice is Florida’s official beverage
  • About 90% of Florida’s orange crop is used to produce orange juice
  • The top 3 orange juice producers globally are Brazil, followed by the United States and Mexico (2021).
  • Spain is the largest European producer of oranges
  • There are 100 calories in 1 cup of orange juice
  • There is about 150 mg (1 cup) or 250% RDA of vitamin C in fresh raw orange juice

Now that you know a little bit more about orange juice, let’s dive into its history.

The History of Orange Juice

Orange juice wasn’t always the staple breakfast item that we know it as today. Back in the 1910s, there was actually an overproduction of citrus fruits in California. Farmers weren’t sure what to do with the extra crop besides destroying 30% of their orange trees. At this time, people didn’t have refrigerators, so juiced oranges would only last for about a day before they start going bad.

Luckily for the farmers, however, both pasteurization and the American railway system were coming into being at this time. With the discovery of pasteurization, farmers could now juice their oranges and pasteurize them for longer storage. After that, railways made it possible for farmers to ship the juice to major cities to sell. This was the start of orange juice being mass-produced and mass-marketed, leading it to become an essential part of American breakfast as we know it today.

Santa Loves Oranges

Would you ever guess that oranges are associated with Santa? Well, for the Dutch, this is true! Santa Claus originates from the Dutch word “Sinterklaas.” In the Netherlands, Sinterklass is celebrated on December 5th, when children receive oranges alongside their presents!

This tradition started between 1568 and 1648 when the Netherlands and Spain were fighting in the Spanish War. Although they were on opposing sides, the two countries continued to trade with each other. Spain was rich in luxury goods, and the Netherlands was rich in gold and silver. The Dutch would use their gold and silver in exchange for goods such as oranges. They saw Sinterklaas as a saint who would protect the oranges on their journey from Spain to the Netherlands.

When the Dutch eventually came to America, they brought the idea of Sinterklass with them, leading to the Santa Claus we know today. So, although he is known for candy and sweet treats now, he was associated with oranges in his younger days.

Oranges for the Royal Family

If you thought it was cool that Santa likes oranges, wait until you hear about the royal family’s relationship with the fruit. Oranges were a symbol of the Dutch royal family, and it was the last name of the Dutch queen. She got this name from inheriting the city of Orange in France, which the Dutch owned from 1530-1702. This city became a hub for orange trade, explaining the origins of the French and English words for ‘orange.’

OJ in Music

Is your favorite song the last place you’d think to find an orange juice reference? Well, here are some bands named after the drink:

  • Orange Juice Jones
  • Orange Juice (Scotland)

Making Orange Juice

Now that you know all about this delicious juice, it’s time to make it yourself! You can make your own OJ using a hand juicer, an electric juicer, or one of the more advanced orange juicers. With prices ranging from $4 to $1,000 or even more, there’s an option for everyone!

Orange Juice Smoothie

Or do you want something a little bit different for breakfast? Try making an orange juice smoothie by blending a whole orange with your favorite ingredients – avocado, banana, chocolate, etc. Orange juice is a simple and delicious option, whether you’re starting a raw diet or just want to consume healthier foods. So, next time you see someone drinking a cup of orange juice, make sure to tell them all about its long and fascinating history!