The 4th of May is Orange Juice Day.
Who doesn’t like a glass of sunshine at breakfast?
Orange juice: one of the most popular juices of all time
Orange juice is one of the most popular juices in the United States. It’s also very popular in Europe. Two-thirds of all the orange juice exports in the world flow to the European Union.  Giese, Sven. Tag des Orangensafts – der amerikanische National Orange Juice Day. 3 May 2016. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.kuriose-feiertage.de/tag-des-orangensaft/
Orange Juice Day is officially promoted by the Florida Department of Citrus. Celebrate the Amazing Inside Florida Orange Juice on National OJ Day. Bartow, Florida: Florida Department of Citrus. 25 April 2019. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.floridacitrus.org/oj/news/may-4th-2019-celebrate-the-amazing-inside-florida-orange-juice-on-national-oj-day/
You can make freshly-squeezed orange juice at home from actual oranges, or, do as probably most people do, and make it from frozen concentrate. But the big question is, do you prefer your orange juice with pulp or no pulp?
If you prefer to have your orange juice later in the day, you can use it in a cocktail. What about an orange juice margarita, an orange juice Moscow Mule, a Tequila Sunrise, or a Blood Orange Mojito?
Some bars may offer specials today on cocktails based on orange juice in honor of the day.
Orange juice can be used as an ingredient in cooking, too! Consider using it for some of the liquid in:
- cakes, pancakes;
- glazes for desserts, meats or fish;
- salad dressings;
On social media, post a picture of your glass of orange juice or of what you made with orange juice. Here are the hashtags for today!
#NationalOrangeJuiceDay #NOJD #OrangeJuiceday
See also: Duck à l’Orange, Orange Juice, Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
Orange juice and nutrition myths
The health benefits of our beloved OJ are now being debated.
First, is freshly-squeezed healthier than frozen concentrate? Well, calcium is often added to cartons or concentrate, giving those forms a definite boost in that regard, but otherwise, nutrition levels of fresh versus frozen versus carton are pretty similar.
But, as for the actual juice itself, well, that’s another story.
We often think about the Vitamin C in it, and tell ourselves that makes it healthy. And it’s true that orange juice does also contain traces of folate, potassium and other micronutrients.
But the problem is the one big macronutrient in it: sugar.
In an orange, all its delicious sugar is bound up in its flesh, and that lets our bodies process that sugar slowly and naturally. But juicing the orange breaks those bonds and frees up all that sugar to float freely in the juice produced. The bound sugar has become free sugar that our bodies can absorb like a sponge:
“The term ‘free sugars’ also includes the sugars in fruit juice. Although these are no different from the sugars in the whole fruit, they are consumed more quickly and without the accompanying plant fibre it can cause more rapid surges in blood sugar.” McNeil, Geraldine. University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Sugars in the diet. Module 2.5. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/nutrition-wellbeing/13/steps/1000087
And, your body can more quickly absorb it and convert it into body fat, exactly as it would with a sugar-laden soft drink. In fact, if it’s the health benefits you are after, some say you are better just taking a vitamin C tablet:
“Dr Robert Lustig, US obesity expert and author of Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, is unequivocal. ‘’Calorie for calorie, fruit juice is worse for you than fizzy drinks’’ he told BBC Good Food. ‘’When you turn fruit into juice, you are losing the insoluble fibre, which is an essential nutrient and helps delay absorption of the sugar. Take the fibre away and you’re just drinking sugar and calories. There’s some vitamin C, but you would be better off taking a vitamin pill for that.’’ Quinn, Sue. Should I still drink fruit juice? BBC Good Food Magazine. 18 January 2019. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/should-i-still-drink-fruit-juice
This is why Weight Watchers® lets people consume as many oranges as they want for “free”, but as soon as you have a glass of orange juice, you have to track it and count it towards your daily points. They want to limit juice intake and encourage consumption of the whole fruit.
“This is why the health advice is now to have whole fruit when possible and limit fruit juice to one small glass per day.” McNeil, Geraldine. University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Sugars in the diet. Module 2.5. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/nutrition-wellbeing/13/steps/1000087
Still, no one’s debating how delicious its tangy sweet taste is. Everyone agrees on that, and no one is saying to stop enjoying it for what it is: a wonderful sweet drink. The recommendation is to enjoy daily 150 ml / 5 oz of orange juice (or another juice.)
So basically, now, the advice on it is pretty much like everything else: enjoy in moderation. And no doubt orange juice producers would be very happy indeed if everyone did drink a 150 ml / 5 oz glass a day, as opposed to just having it as an occasional treat.
You can lighten up your OJ and double your 150 ml / 5 oz drink by mixing it half and half with sparkling water. This makes for a delicious mocktail at brunch!
The earliest print mention CooksInfo can find of an Orange Juice Day dates from 2011 in Illinois:
“Every day in May has at least one national day devoted to some food or drink. The winner is May 4 with three: National Homebrew Day, National Orange Juice Day and National Candied Orange Peel Day. Knock-knock: ‘Orange’ you glad it’s orange?” — Churney, Dan. Food holidays run from artichokes to zucchini. Streator, Illinois: The Times. 4 May 2011. Page 13, col 2.
During World World Two, Mock Orange Juice was made in England from rutabaga (swede.)
In Urban Slang, an “orange juice day” is when everything goes wrong right from the start of the day. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Orange%20Juice%20day
Borger, Ruth. Raise a Glass on National OJ Day. University of Florida Extension Service. 30 April 2020. Accessed April 2021 at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/crec/2020/04/30/raise-a-glass-on-may-4-national-oj-day/
Jeffries, Corvaya. Orange ya glad it’s healthy? Here’s how to justify happy hour today. Palm Beach, Florida: Palm Beach Post. 4 May 2017. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.palmbeachpost.com/entertainment/orange-glad-healthy-here-how-justify-happy-hour-today/ZunQYQReAY1EK4TerlS2IP/
Leamy, Elizabeth. Should You Drink Orange Juice? It Depends On Your Goals. ABC News. 5 May 2014. Accessed April 2021 at https://abcnews.go.com/Business/drink-orange-juice-depends-goals/story?id=23566117
Williams, Brenna. An unscientific analysis of the Florida delegation’s feelings on orange juice: Thursday marks National Orange Juice Day. CNN. 4 May 2017. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/national-orange-juice-day-florida-delegation-congress/index.html
|↑1||Giese, Sven. Tag des Orangensafts – der amerikanische National Orange Juice Day. 3 May 2016. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.kuriose-feiertage.de/tag-des-orangensaft/|
|↑2||Celebrate the Amazing Inside Florida Orange Juice on National OJ Day. Bartow, Florida: Florida Department of Citrus. 25 April 2019. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.floridacitrus.org/oj/news/may-4th-2019-celebrate-the-amazing-inside-florida-orange-juice-on-national-oj-day/|
|↑3||McNeil, Geraldine. University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Sugars in the diet. Module 2.5. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/nutrition-wellbeing/13/steps/1000087|
|↑4||Quinn, Sue. Should I still drink fruit juice? BBC Good Food Magazine. 18 January 2019. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/should-i-still-drink-fruit-juice|
|↑5||McNeil, Geraldine. University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Sugars in the diet. Module 2.5. Accessed April 2021 at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/nutrition-wellbeing/13/steps/1000087|
|↑6||Accessed April 2021 at https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Orange%20Juice%20day|