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July 29, 2011

The Secret Ingredient In Your Orange Juice

The Secret Ingredient In Your Orange Juice | Food Renegade
. . . Generally speaking, beverages that taste consistently the same follow recipes. They’re things like Coca Cola or Pepsi or a Starbucks Frappuccino. When you make orange juice at home, each batch tastes a little different depending on the oranges you made it from. I hope you’re hearing warning bells in your head right about now. The reason your store bought orange juice is so consistently flavorful has more to do with chemistry than nature. Making OJ should be pretty simple. Pick oranges. Squeeze them. Put the juice in a carton and voila! But actually, there is an important stage in between that is an open secret in the OJ industry. After the oranges are squeezed, the juice is stored in giant holding tanks and, critically, the oxygen is removed from them. That essentially allows the liquid to keep (for up to a year) without spoiling– but that liquid that we think of as orange juice tastes nothing like the Tropicana OJ that comes out of the carton. (source) In fact, it’s quite flavorless. So, the industry uses “flavor packs” to re-flavor the de-oxygenated orange juice: When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine. The formulas vary to give a brand’s trademark taste. If you’re discerning you may have noticed Minute Maid has a candy like orange flavor. That’s largely due to the flavor pack Coca-Cola has chosen for it. Some companies have even been known to request a flavor pack that mimics the taste of a popular competitor, creating a “hall of mirrors” of flavor packs. Despite the multiple interpretations of a freshly squeezed orange on the market, most flavor packs have a shared source of inspiration: a Florida Valencia orange in spring. . . .

July 28, 2011

Which supplements work and which are straight up scams?

This is a wonderful graph. Joe. My. God.: Snake Oil

July 27, 2011

Words to live by

The Galaxy : The Pocket Universe on imgfave

July 23, 2011

What would Charlie Stross spend a billion dollars on?

If I had a Billion Dollars - Charlie's Diary
Today, in late July 2011, this is how I might spend $1 billion, specifically into areas that I think are currently underfunded: $100 million to build a working prototype vertical farm. Another $100 million on self-replicating 3d printers and a business ecosystem for distributed manufacturing and design. $200 million into several nuclear fusion efforts, including General Fusion's pneumatic-ram driven steampunk reactor, the Polywell, Focus fusion and fusion-catalyzed subcritical thorium fission. $100 million into a demonstration laser launch system capable of launching at least a soft drink can's worth of mass into orbit. Actually, a lot of that would probably go into magbeams and tether-driven 'second stage' technologies. $100 million into studying terra preta, iron fertilization, and carbon air capture. 'Cause even if you don't believe that all that CO2 in the air is causing climate change, ocean acidification is still a huge problem. $100 million on magnetic shielding technology (and magsails) for space travel. $200 million to buy and launch one of Bigelow's BA330 orbital stations to use as a variable-gravity research module and Mars cycler. $100 million for an underground volcanic island lair (and lots of yellow jumpsuits). Just because I can.