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Any way to salvage cheap, bitter orange juice?

Last week, when my cash flow was a bit restricted, I tried to stretch my grocery dollars by buying Kroger brand frozen orange juice (with calcium) instead of my usual Minute Maid. I had previously discovered that there's enough difference in quality to justifying buying the Minute Maid, but I figured I could put up with less-than-perfect orange juice for a week. Problem is, it's not just less than ideal, it tastes bitter.

I hate to waste food, so is there anything I can do with this to make it useful? I tried making a smoothie with frozen strawberries and mangoes, but the bitter orange juice overwhelmed the fruit (although it tasted better after I tried mixing in some plain yogurt). I have about a pint of mixed juice and a carton of still frozen juice (which underscores how bad the juice is, since I usually go through two cartons of frozen OJ in a week). I'd love to have a more healthful suggestion than mixing it with ginger ale or dumping sugar into it.

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  1. I'd look for a marinade recipe to use it up.

    1. Supposedly, salt brings out sweetness. So I would experiment with a pinch of salt in 4-6 oz. of juice, if you don't have sodium issues. If it helps, fine. If not, try Nectresse, a new sweetener that combines a fruit extract with a tiny amount of sugar. Or try cooking down a cup or so of juice, reducing by a third or more, and taste that. If it's better, reduce the rest and freeze to use as a syrup or when making homemade jello.

      1. I don't know if it's workable in your situation - but, frozen OJ concentrate is a great dressing for a fruit salad... just add a couple of tablespoons to a bowl of your favorite chopped up friut with maybe a bit of ginger and mint... it's money.

        1. Can you mix the bad OJ with another, better juice?

          1. Mix it with cheap vodka....

            Enjoy!

            1. Add coconut water to it. It works miracles on any sour, bitter, or too-thick juice. Vita Coco is the brand we use, but Amy and Brian's (in the blue steel cans) is better, if a bit more expensive.

              1. Thanks for these suggestions. I will try adding some frozen concentrate to the pineapple for tomorrow's breakfast, and I'll start googling for marinade recipes. I will continue to consider all other suggestions.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MrsBridges

                  I had some extra OJ that I used as a liquid for brining ... I used a couple of cups of juice, 1 tablespoon salt, herbs, garlic. Soaked a small elk steak for a few hours, it came out nice.

                2. I'd add it to a bit of cornstarch in a skillet; whisk in some fresh ginger, a little brown sugar and some crushed red pepper flakes. Reduce it and use as a sauce for a chicken/pork/shrimp stir fry.

                  Add it as the liquid in a cake recipe or even better, make a orange curd: add a little grated orange zest to intensify the flavor. Use to fill a prebaked shortbread tart shell. Pipe on the whipped cream or meringue (quickly browned in the oven). Plenty you can do with it.

                  1. If you have an unopened carton still and your receipt, return it to the store for a refund and explain why, There may have been a problem with processing (e.g., getting pith included would cause bitterness) or handling during shipping / store stocking that caused the taste issue. Telling them gives them a chance to investigate and correct.

                    We've developed similar loyalty to Minute Maid brand, after a series of side-by-side comparisons. But only one of the tried alternatives was undrinkable; we tossed it and supplied the lot number/date to that company's customer service via e-mail.