Juice 101

February 21, 2012

Shopping for juices and can't decide because there are so many choices? Use this reference 101 to cut through the clutter.

What is juice? Juice is the liquid from fruits or vegetables used as a beverage or as a liquid in cooking or baking.

How to buy: Juices come freshly squeezed, as a frozen concentrate, canned, or made from concentrate to which water has been added. Juice is available in the refrigerator section, and frozen concentrates are in freezer sections and tend to be less expensive than freshly squeezed.

What to look for on the label: Check the expiration date to ensure freshness. Read the label to look for added sweeteners, other juices, and always check sodium levels in vegetable juices. Not all juice is made from 100 percent juice. Read the ingredient list to see if juice or water is the first ingredient.

Choices: There are many varieties of juices, some with pulp, and others are filtered to remove pulp. Fruit juices from citrus, apples, stone fruit, berries, and vegetable juices or blends are widely available. Other more exotic fruit juices include guava, coconut, papaya, and mango can also be found in most stores.

How to use: Drink alone or in combination with dairy for a smoothie; in cooking or baking instead of water or other liquid; freeze for fruit bars or flavored ice cubes.

How to store: Store frozen items in freezer and store jars and cans in the cupboard until ready to use. Refrigerate all juices after packages are opened.

Health benefits: Fresh squeezed juices provide vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars; however they can be a concentrated source of sugar for those trying to watch sugar intake, because fiber has been removed (versus eating the entire fruit).

Smarter shopping: Take advantage of low-priced in season fruits and vegetables; juice them yourself and freeze for drinking, baking or cooking later on- you will taste the difference if you juice at home!

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