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Apple Cider, Edamame, and Cautionary Labels on Cranberry Juice

Posted Oct 23 2008 1:20pm

Growing up in central NY, I made at least one trip every fall to the local cider mill, Hollenbeck’s, to watch them press fresh apple cider. Yum! I know it’s a little late, but I just bought my first jug of [organic] cider for the season (sadly not from a cider mill, but from Whole Foods), and it is yummy. I often wondered what made apple cider different from apple juice. After a little research, I discovered that back in the day, “cider” referred to hard cider, but now I think the term is used for unpasteurized apple juice that could turn into hard cider (yes?). Even though my cider is in a mug, it is not hot. I don’t think I’ve ever had the hot variety (with the spices and stuff), but maybe I should try making it sometime while it’s still in season.

I’ve been craving edamame like crazy lately, so I finally made some today for lunch. I would usually eat it with some brown rice, but I had leftover millet from making Dreena’s black bean millet patties, so I ate that instead. Very satisfying.

Finally: the juice. Normally, I am not such a fan of pasteurized juice, but I have to give credit to Lakewood for making a good cranberry juice that is not made from concentrate. Sure, it is pasteurized, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find enough fresh organic cranberries to make a bottle of juice yourself, and even if you did, it would probably be very expensive. So I praise Lakewood for giving me a good cranberry juice that is pure and undiluted (it actually tastes good – it’s got a kick to it, but it’s not nearly as bitter as I thought it would be without the added apple juice, etc that other cranberry juices have). Because it is not mixed with any other fruit juice or water, they felt the need to kindly label their product to let people know what they were getting into. I tried taking a picture, but it turned out annoyingly blurry, so I will save you all the eye strain and tell you what it says:

“Careful: This is a natural full strength organic cranberry juice.This is not a diluted product.For best taste results, mix one partLakewoodcranberry juice with 2 to 4 parts water or other juice.”

At first, I thought it was humorous that they needed to warn people about the power of pure cranberry juice. When I thought about it further, though, I was a little disturbed to think that a healthful product, such as this one, would warrant a label while meat and dairy products and products that contain hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, etc go unmarked (and are, in fact, aggressively marketed to an unsuspecting public). It all just reminds me of how mixed up our society is when it comes to the issue of food. It’s sad, really, that our taste buds have been so polluted from a lifetime of unnatural eating that we can’t even bear the thought of letting unsweetened fruit juice pass our lips.

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