Peaches Juice Concentrated
Peaches are the third most popular fruit in the nation, behind apples and oranges, respectively. Now is the time to eat peaches. Farmers' markets, roadside stands and grocery stores are loaded with blushing, sweet, fragrant, juicy peaches. Of course, peaches are best eaten fresh, but, with so many around they can be frozen, canned and used in a variety of ways. Now is the time to add a sliced peach to a bowl of read-to-eat cereal to enhance the flavor and nutritional value. Locally grown peaches purchased at this time of year are sweeter and juicier than winter peaches imported from Chile, Mexico and New Zealand available November through April. Winter peaches are often mealy and dry. Peaches do not get any sweeter once they are picked. They do get softer and juicier, but never sweeter. That is why it is important to avoid rock hard peaches that were picked when they were still green. Peach juice is heated during the process used to make concentrated juice, and this heat processing changes the flavor of the resulting juice. A milder process, called direct osmosis concentration, can produce concentrated juice without heating during the process. Such concentrated juices have more fresh juice flavor than heat-concentrated juice. We prepared concentrated peach juice by direct osmosis concentration and examined the concentrated juice by analysis and by a taste test to determine how much the juice had changed because of this mild concentration process. The concentrated juice had about two-thirds of the flavoring present in the original juice. This is a much higher level of flavor in the concentrated juice than when heat processing is used. Tasters were able to tell a difference between the original juice and juice made from the concentrated product, but peach flavor can be added back to the concentrated juice to restore the lost flavorings.