The Difference Between All Natural & Concentrate Juice

Written by debra pachucki
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The Difference Between All Natural & Concentrate Juice
Juice that is made from concentrate is just as healthy as juice that isn't. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

These days, shoppers are confronted with a variety of juice choices. Aside from flavour varieties, consumers must decide among fresh-squeezed, from concentrate, not-from-concentrate or "all natural" juice, artificial juice cocktail and other juice options. While there isn't any difference in nutritional value between all natural juices that are and aren't from concentrate, several other distinctions between the two exist.

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Manufacturing Process

The biggest difference between juices that are and aren't from concentrate is in the manufacturing process. Juice labelled as being "from concentrate" is processed and packaged differently than juice that is labelled as "not from concentrate." Juice concentrate is made by extracting the water from juice so that only solids remain. The solids are frozen and sold in tubes or, in the case of liquid juice from concentrate, drinking water is added back to the concentrate and then pasteurised and packaged. Juice that is not from concentrate is squeezed, pasteurised and then stored for packaging, with orange flavouring often added just before packaging after long-term storage. Freshly squeezed juice is unpasteurised and has a shorter shelf life than juice that is and isn't from concentrate, since the enzyme that is normally destroyed during the pasteurisation process remains in fresh-squeezed juice products.

Taste

Many people prefer to shell out the additional money for juice that is not from concentrate, claiming that it has a fresher taste. While fresh-squeezed juice is indeed fresher -- and fresher tasting -- than juice that is from concentrate, that is not always the case with pasteurised juice that isn't from concentrate. In fact, once non-concentrated juice has been pasteurised, it is often stored in large vats for up to a year or longer before it is packaged and sold. Perhaps the natural orange flavouring that is often added to non-concentrated juice before packaging makes for a slightly preferable taste, but because juice concentrate remains frozen until it is mixed with water, packaged and sold, it just might win out in a freshness taste test.

Shelf Life and Storage

While fresh-squeezed juice has a shorter shelf life due to non-pasteurisation, juice that is and isn't from concentrate has a longer shelf life of approximately one month. The convenience of juice concentrate, however, is that it is often sold without water added in its frozen, solid state, which can remain in a home or grocery store freezer for several months before use and takes up less space than a regular carton or plastic carafe of liquid juice, both from concentrate and not from concentrate.

Uses and Applications

Liquid juice that is or isn't from concentrate can be used in much the same way -- drunk as is, added to cocktails, stirred into batters or incorporated in an array of dinner ingredients. Since frozen juice concentrate is a waterless solid, it can be used in slightly different ways. It can be eaten as a frozen treat similar to a fruit sorbet and is also useful for making homemade wine.

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