Orange juice is a breakfast staple for many people. It’s tasty, nutritious, and provides a quick boost of energy to start your day. While orange juice is available year-round, there’s no better time to enjoy this refreshing beverage than on National Orange Juice Day!
When is National Orange Juice Day?
National Orange Juice Day is observed annually on May 4th. This unofficial food holiday was created to celebrate the delicious and nutritious qualities of orange juice. The citrus drink has long been associated with breakfast time, so the beginning of May, with its warmer spring temperatures, provides the perfect opportunity to honor orange juice before the dog days of summer arrive.
History of Orange Juice
People have been drinking orange juice for thousands of years, ever since oranges first originated in southeast Asia. Once oranges made their way to Europe and eventually the Americas via Spanish explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries, orange trees were widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas. However, orange juice didn’t become widely available as a commercial beverage until the 20th century.
In the 1920s, Dr. Philip Phillips pioneered flash pasteurization, which allowed orange juice to be stored without fermenting while retaining its fresh flavor. This breakthrough allowed orange juice to be sold commercially on a wide scale. In 1949, frozen concentrated orange juice was developed, which radically expanded the orange juice industry and made it affordable for the average household. Brands like Minute Maid, Tropicana, and Florida Natural became orange juice giants over the next several decades.
The popularity of orange juice as a breakfast staple really took off in the 1950s and 60s. Agriculture departments promoted orange juice as a healthy start to the day. In 1967, Florida declared itself the official “Orange Juice State” and orange juice became a morning ritual for Americans across the country. Nowadays, Americans drink over 1.2 billion gallons of orange juice per year!
Nutritional Benefits of Orange Juice
Orange juice delivers an array of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some of the top nutrients found in this citrus drink:
|Vitamin C||Boosts immunity, supports collagen production|
|Potassium||Reduces blood pressure, supports heart health|
|Folate||Important for cell growth and DNA synthesis|
|Antioxidants like Vitamin A, flavonoids and hesperidin||Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress|
Orange juice is also an excellent source of B vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid. Overall, orange juice delivers key vitamins and minerals and the phytonutrient antioxidants found naturally in oranges.
How to Celebrate National Orange Juice Day
There are so many great ways to fete this flavorful beverage on May 4th. Here are some fun ideas for celebrating National Orange Juice Day:
Drink a Glass of Orange Juice
The most straightforward way to observe this holiday is by simply pouring yourself a chilled glass of orange juice in the morning. Savor that sweet citrus flavor and tartness. An 8 ounce glass of orange juice fulfills your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and provides around 15% of your potassium needs. Drink orange juice on its own or use it to wash down your breakfast foods.
Make Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
For an extra special treat, make your own freshly squeezed OJ at home. Pick up some juicy navel oranges and squeeze them by hand or use a juicer or citrus press. Homemade orange juice tastes incredibly vibrant and sweet. Adjust the pulp to your desired consistency. Making your own juice lets you control the flavor and quality. Plus you can garnish your orange juice with slices of orange or mint for a restaurant-worthy presentation.
Mix Up An Orange Juice Cocktail
Orange juice isn’t just for the breakfast table! Use it to liven up an afternoon or evening drink. Blend orange juice with light rum or vodka for a flavorful screwdriver. Or add bubbly like champagne or sparkling water for a fun mimosa. Orange juice also stars in many non-alcoholic smoothies and shakes. Blend it with yogurt, ice cream, honey, and fruit for a sweet treat.
Cook With Orange Juice
Incorporate orange juice into recipes beyond beverages. Marinate chicken or fish in an orange juice mixture. Bake orange juice into muffins and cakes. Create a tangy orange juice vinaigrette for salads. Use orange juice as a base for sauces and glazes to complement poultry or pork. Orange juice can also be transformed into a sticky sweet marmalade to slather on biscuits and toast.
Go Out for Orange Juice
Many restaurants serve fresh orange juice. On National Orange Juice Day, go out for brunch and order a glass of OJ with your meal. Or hit up a juice bar and try one of their orange juice blends like orange ginger or orange carrot. Stop by a coffee shop and get an iced latte punched up with some orange juice. Going out for orange juice is a nice change of pace from making it at home.
Orange Juice Recipes
Here are some excellent orange juice recipes to expand your OJ repertoire beyond just drinking it straight. Try one of these delicious ideas on National Orange Juice Day:
Orange Sunrise Smoothie
Blend orange juice, strawberries, banana, vanilla yogurt, and ice for a sweet and tangy smoothie. Top with frozen strawberries if desired.
Orange Creamsicle Milkshake
Mix orange juice, vanilla ice cream, milk, and a dash of vanilla. Garnish with an orange slice.
Orange Juice Granita
Freeze orange juice with simple syrup until solid. Scrape and blend for a refreshing granita.
Orange Chicken Marinade
Combine orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, and ginger. Marinate chicken for 1 hour before cooking.
Orange Cinnamon Pancakes
Make fluffy pancakes with orange juice, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg mixed into the batter.
Orange Juice Vinaigrette
Whisk together orange juice, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper for a bright salad dressing.
Where to Find Deals on Orange Juice for the Holiday
National Orange Juice Day provides the perfect excuse to stock up on your favorite OJ brands. Here are some ways to find deals and discounts:
- Check grocery store weekly circulars for orange juice promotions and coupons
- Buy store brand or generic orange juice to save money
- Look for orange juice sales at big box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club
- Purchase orange juice in bulk containers or cartons to lower the per-ounce price
- Use a coupon clipping app to find orange juice coupons and cash back offers
- Buy frozen orange juice concentrate and reconstitute it at home
Getting a good deal on orange juice will help you celebrate National Orange Juice Day affordably and deliciously.
The History of National Orange Juice Day
National Orange Juice Day was invented in the late 1990s by the Florida Department of Citrus as a way to promote orange juice consumption and celebrate Florida’s vital orange growers. Florida produces the majority of the orange juice enjoyed in America, making it the undisputed orange juice capital of the country.
Orange juice sales typically decline during the warm summer months. To boost interest before peak season ends, the Florida citrus industry conceived of National Orange Juice Day as an early May holiday. May 4th was chosen because it’s right before orange juice production slows down for the year.
The Florida Department of Citrus promoted the new holiday to juice brands and grocery retailers. They encouraged juicemakers and stores to run sales and offer free samples leading up to May 4th. Restaurants and school cafeterias were also targeted to put orange juice-centric drinks and recipes on their menus.
National Orange Juice Day was a success in driving orange juice awareness and sales. Although not an official federal holiday, it is observed by juice fans across America. The holiday is still promoted annually by the Florida Department of Citrus on social media and with hashtag campaigns. National Orange Juice Day gives us a great reason to honor Florida’s orange growing legacy and enjoy a cold glass of OJ!
Fun Facts About Orange Juice
- It takes about 10 oranges to make one 8 ounce glass of orange juice.
- Orange juice sales spike by nearly 25% the week before Super Bowl Sunday.
- Not from concentrate orange juice must be processed and packaged within 24 hours of squeezing.
- Brazil produces more oranges than any other country, but the U.S. leads the world in orange juice production.
- Only oranges with the best flavor are chosen to make orange juice, while cosmetically flawed oranges are saved for eating as whole fruit.
- Flash pasteurization heats orange juice to 170°F for 15 seconds to make it safe to drink while maintaining fresh taste.
- It takes 4 – 6 oranges to make one gallon of frozen concentrated orange juice.
- Orange juice naturally contains a tiny amount of alcohol (less than 0.5%) from fermentation on the fruit’s surface.
- Tropicana was the first company to sell pure bottled orange juice in the 1940s.
- Orange juice has an estimated 25% higher antioxidant activity than apples.
Orange juice is a refreshing and nutritious beverage with a fascinating history. National Orange Juice Day celebrates the tangy drink that wakes up our tastebuds and energizes our mornings. On May 4th, honor orange juice by drinking a glass on its own or incorporated into cocktails and recipes. Try squeezing your own OJ or visit a restaurant serving fresh orange juice. However you observe this zesty holiday, raise a glass to the goodness of orange juice!