Have you ever bought a bottle of juice from the supermarket shelf? Maybe a bottle of OJ from the fridge section, or even a bottle of vegetable juice from the shelf. Have you ever cast your mind to wonder why the use by date is 2 years from now whereas an orange sitting on the shelf for 2 years would be a shriveled moudly remnant of its former self? Well the reason they can sit there for so long is not only preservatives, but also a process called pasteurization. Basically it was process invented by Louis Pasteur in 1864 who discovered that heating beer and wine was enough to kill the bacteria that would cause the beverages to go sour or go off. Fast forward to now, and there are a couple of methods that are used to complete the pasteurization process.
- Flash heat pasteurization – normally used for beverages, particularly juices, the liquid is basically cooked at high temperatures for a short amount of time.
- High pressure pastuerisation – this is very new process and it is being used a lot in the juice world, it means the beverage is subject to pressure similar to that of the bottom of the ocean.
- Steam pasteurization – Normally used in the processing of beef, the surfaces are exposed to high heat steam for a period of time
- Gamma rays – primarily used in meat, it means exposing the product small amounts of irradiation.
Does pasteurization mean the produce is no longer raw? Yes. Subjecting it to any kind of processing will change the natural raw composition of the produce. Some of the traditional pastuerisation methods “cook” the produce, but other methods like the pressure method is very new and unclear yet exactly what it changes in the nutrient density. Pasteurisation is a big advantage for a food business as it means they can make more product in bulk and they know it will last, as opposed to a business like us that makes everything fresh each day. This does reduce the price of juices for the end consumer, but it also reduces the product to no better than the bottle you once picked up from the supermarket shelf.