Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fruit and juice

A few weeks ago, Nathaniel came up with the idea to make our own orange juice. I am not sure how he came up with it, but I started laughing, because I think he thought it was revolutionary that no one had thought to make juice from an orange, but just to buy it from the store in a container.

We had a bag of 7 mikans (japanese clementines) in the fridge, next thing I know, he's got my citrus juicer (small one for cooking) and a whole mikan trying to get juice. I informed him you have to cut the orange first and that I had a bigger juicer for squeezing your own juice. See below for a repeat performance of non-cutting the orange, even when I brought out the juice press:

The next day, we set to work making the juice, with our 6 remaining mikans, we got one glass of juice that all four kids shared. They were absolutely delighted and then wanted to try making more, but experimenting with adding sugar, etc. Of course, we had no more oranges, so we didn't try that yet. This reminded me of being a kid at my nana's house with her gigantic steel juicer making orange juice. I remember we used to add sugar and some lemon juice at times and I thought "oh this is so good we could sell it and make up our own name". I even remember the name I came up with, Lemonge.

Here are some photos of us making the juice, the only thing I helped with was cutting the mikans.

Here's our glass of juice:

They then asked can we make orange grape juice? But, of course, orange juice and lemonade are about it for me as far as what I know how to make. If you go to a grocery store here in Japan, you will not find the large variety of fruit juice you find in the US, nor the quantity. Because of the small size of the refrigerators here, the containers are 1 Liter cartons. You will find your basic orange, apple, grape, and grapefruit juice. Usually there is a fruit punch, and sometimes peach, mango, banana, and blueberry juice. Let me tell you , the juice here is excellent, it tastes like you are actually eating the fruit and what you would expect, it's not too artificial. You know, there's not a large aisle here of non-refrigerated juice, there are a lot of bottles of tea and lemon-ade type drinks in the non-refrigerated section, but nothing too familiar for us.

Here is the juice aisle at our grocery store:

The reason that I think the juice is so good is because the fruit is DELICIOUS here. You will pay dearly for the fruit, but it is always good. Very rarely will we buy fruit that didn't taste good or was bad. It is handled with care and packaged with care too, check out the displays at our grocery store:

Each apple is in it's own cup:

The mangos and papayas are in there own foam cushions, you'll see apples like that too occasionally:

The sign in front is 78 yen per kiwi (80 cents each) and the one under the apple is 298 yen (roughly $3):

Yes, the watermelon is almost $30:

The strawberries are the best we've ever eaten, all carefully placed inside the container, not thrown in:

The fruit is usually only sold in season and if it's out of season, it can get extremely pricey. One time I paid $10 for 10 strawberries- you may think that is crazy, but it was the first time I'd see them in 5 months and the kids gobbled them right up. If they'll eat fruit, I'll buy it (to a certain extent). I also once paid $4 for a peach, it was the first time we'd ever seen them here and they are mouth watering. We only see peaches here for about 2 or 3 months. Here is an example of one of the most expensive pieces of fruit I've ever seen here:

I have actually seen one for $100, but didn't have my camera with me. You know you've got a true friend if they give you a melon as a gift.

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