Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pulp non-fiction

One of the many things I miss, from home, is freshly squeezed orange juice.

Not, I should explain, juice freshly squeezed from an actual orange. That's way too much like hard work, even without the mess. What I'm talking about is bottles of orange juice untreated in any way - not reconstituted, not pasteurised, sans preservatives or any other ungodly treatment visited upon its natural pulpy goodness. Typically, it has a shelf life of about a week.

It's a universal pick-me-up: a drink whose natural sugar levels give an instant boost, no matter how tired or run-down or hung-over I am, without the inevitable subsequent carb-crash of a soft drink; whose liquid rehydrates my tissues; whose vitamins I can practically feel hunting down and beating into submission all those nasty free radicals unleashed by whatever good times I've had lately.

(I am aware that certain scientists, sponsored by I-know-not-whom-but-I-have-my-suspicions, claim that there is no health benefit to "freshly squeezed" orange juice. Those scientists are idiots, as indeed is anyone who thinks that "benefits" can be measured by lab equipment. They should try drinking it.)

Given that the UK is not exactly famous for its orange groves, the fact that you can get this stuff, year-round, in any decent British supermarket is a testament to their phenomenal logistical abilities. But one quickly gets used to such luxuries.

New Zealand supermarkets, I regret to say, are not in the same league. Sometimes I wonder if they're even playing the same sport.

The "pure squeezed" juice we encounter here, in our weekly shopping, is from two suppliers: McCoy's, a French-owned brand that basically sells soft drinks and reconstituted juice, with "squeezed" juice added to the product line pretty much as an afterthought; and Charlie's [warning: website will screw with your browser window and, if you're not careful, play offensive music at you], a brand whose idea of "honest squeezed orange juice" includes pasteurisation and "added Vitamin C".

Both of these products are a feeble, whispering shadow of the drink I've been hankering for. Compared with the mulish kick of Tesco's or Sainsbury's own brands, they're about as stimulating as a prod with a dry sponge.

So imagine my unbridled joy when, a couple of weeks ago now, I discovered a new brand on the shelves of New World. A brand whose "Best Before" date, instead of months ahead, was less than ten days away. We instantly bought three litres of the stuff.

And imagine my dismay when I read, last weekend, that it's a "limited edition", only available for twelve weeks. Which, by my reckoning, should end in late April.

The best I can hope for is that it'll be such a smash hit, others will see the market niche and move whatever parts of heaven and earth are necessary to fill it. I've been doing my part, putting it away faster than a Pennsylvanian judge. Come May, we'll see if it's been enough.


Nodressrehearsal said...

I forget how spoiled we are here, with anything edible your heart desires just half a mile away at the best grocery store in the history of the universe.

How about buying it all up and freezing it? I know, I know, but still... you'd get that wonderful taste, right?

vet said...

Freezing it? I don't know if that could work, but our freezer isn't big enough anyway, so I can't really try the experiment.

Thanks for the thought, though. That's lateral thinking, that is.

Nodressrehearsal said...

My folks used to do it when they lived in Florida and had orange and lemon trees. But they're the reigning king and queen of always having an extra freezer on hand for just such an occasion.

Anonymous said...

Grow your own grove of orange trees. In 42 years you'll have sweet sweet oj.


vet said...

Grow my own grove? Awww... but that means not only waiting 42 years (and what are the odds I'll last that long, deprived of all those vitamins?), but also doing my own squeezing.