Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

            I realized when writing my last post, BEVERAGES, it would take a while to get all my drink recipes posted. As an “old man”, or so I am referred to by Sam, I have a superfluous number of drinks stored up in the “old” noggin.  I hope that I can get them all written down before I kill those brain cells with alcohol.

            I have since created a BEVERAGE LIST to make ALL our lives easier at TMPP (The Magic of Perfect Pairing) in order to find a particular drink recipe. As we go through the year, I can add the links to various drinks there.

           Fresh squeezed orange juice is something I first did as a kid. I remember my youth fondly. I had it pretty good growing up.  I lived in the suburbs just outside NYC. If I was not outside playing with my friends in the neighborhood, then I was inside watching television. Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and The Electric Company were all relatively brand new shows on TV back then. I even remember watching Julia Child cooking and some guy called Jack LaLanne who did a physical fitness show. Why am I going off on this tangent? It’s because I don’t know where I got the idea from, but one day, probably some rainy dreary day when I was stuck inside, I decided to make fresh squeezed orange juice.

My mother did all the grocery shopping alone back then and occasionally she met my Aunt Betty and they went shopping together. That was great for us because we got to order Pizza for dinner. She usually went grocery shopping while I was at school, so pizza was not a regular meal in our house. She did however ALWAYS purchase whatever we liked to eat and then some. Like I said, I was lucky, we always had food on the table and always enough to eat. One of the things she purchased was fruit of all kinds. She liked pink grapefruit and apples. I liked Red Delicious Apples back then so there were always at least two of those in the fridge. There was also other fruit depending on what season it was. Oranges always seemed to be in the refrigerator as they were available year round. Navel oranges I think I remember best and ate one of those once in a blue moon. That leads me into the “fresh squeezed story”.

I knew my mother had a lemon juicer because I had seen her use it in the past.  It looked just like the one below pictured below from Amazon.

I dug the juicer out of a draw that was located under our stove. I can still hear the exasperation in my mother’s voice as clear as a bell as I opened the draw: “What are you doing now?” My reply was as if I did this everyday: “Just making Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice” Ma: “Oh Jeeze, I just cleaned up your mess from breakfast. Try not to make another mess, please.” I made a mess. I’m sure of that.

I retrieved an orange from the fridge and a knife from a drawer. I sliced open the orange just as I had watched my mother do with lemons.  Why was doing this? I have no idea, maybe I had just watched Julia Child on TV and got the crazy idea stuck in my head I was going to be a chef now. Heck, I was a kid. It’s what kids do. I squeezed both sides of the orange and poured the juice into a glass. I remember thinking; wow, that is not a lot of juice for one orange.  I did this over and over. Maybe it was three or four oranges later, but I did not fill the whole glass before I stopped. Squeezing oranges by hand was a lot of work. Did I mention these were navel oranges because they were. Not very “Juicy” navel oranges.

Soon, I had made a complete mess on the dining room table as my mother watched from the kitchen while doing other things. I decided now was a good time to taste my culinary delight. I tasted my newly made OJ concoction and it was terrible. I distinctly remember not wanting to drink it all but took more than one sip to be sure it was terrible.

Mom: “Now you’re not going to drink it? You’re wasting all those oranges.”

Me: “It’s gross. Not at all as good as Minute Maid.” We also used to get Tropicana Orange Juice before that. My mother was very brand loyal.

Mom: “Maybe it tastes different because those are not juice oranges.” Always the pragmatist my mother was.

Me: “Oh, maybe. I guess so.” and I poured the rest of the juice down the drain and helped clean up a little by throwing away the orange peels. My mother was stuck cleaning off the table and doing the dishes. She never complained though. Well, certainly not often.

Therefore, the first lesson in fresh squeezed juice is to use the right oranges. Good fresh squeezed orange juice comes from good fresh Florida Juice Oranges. They are not the best for eating and have pits but they have more juice then navels and are sweeter. They are also “chewier” if you try to eat one. Most navel oranges come from California by the way.

Whether it’s lemons, oranges, or limes, when juicing citrus fruit I always roll it on the counter under my hand before I cut it in half. I call this the “presqueeze”. I think it makes it easier to squeeze. I am usually squeezing lemons now as an adult more so then oranges.

I buy OJ in the container in the dairy aisle. I however do not always buy the same brand all the time. If it’s on sale, it will taste very good with a little vodka in it. Hence, the Screwdriver drink is next.

Well, until our next beverage recipe, be well, drink well, and have fun in the kitchen.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)


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