When I started eating raw foods I had the comforting impression that fresh produce would cost me less than processed foods, and that juicing fruits and vegetables on my own would be cheaper than buying packaged juice. I've since learned that I can get more meals for less money if I eat junk like frozen dinners and ramen noodles. Still, despite my limited funds, I prefer my fresh foods for reasons of health. Today I decided to make fresh orange juice to see if I would save money squeezing or juicing it myself.
I started by checking out local prices for oranges. Seems like .99 cents/lb is a popular price this week, so I bought 6 pounds of oranges and juiced them all, making sure I included some pulp in the finished product. What I ended up with was a tad disappointing as far as savings go. My six pounds (96 oz) yielded less than 48 oz of juice, or less than 6 cups. I essentially paid $5.96 for 6 cups of juice, or about 12 cents per ounce. (I'm quite happy if anyone wants to double-check my math, but I believe it's all correct).
For comparison, I looked for a packaged orange juice with pulp, and found Albertson's selling the brand "Floridas Natural Orange Juice Home Style With Pulp" for .07 per ounce. Hmmm... A search online lead to online grocer PeaPod, which sells the same brand at .05 per ounce (in New Jersey, at least). I checked Sunflower Market, which often sells produce more cheaply
here, but found oranges for sale at a penny higher per pound. However,
I see a brand of organic
OJ for sale there at about .08 cents per ounce. Still cheaper than my non-organic, homemade OJ! Sooo, it was actually a bit more expensive to make my own orange juice.
Now, there are factors that could make juicing cheaper sometimes, I suppose. For one thing, produce prices vary across the country due to factors like seasonality, crop yield, origin of production, and the ultimate price set at the store or market. Also, I some varieties of oranges yield more juice than others.
In the end, I prefer preparing my own orange juice despite the fact that today it cost me more in cash than a packaged product would have cost. The benefits are worth it: my juice is fresher, and I have no packaging to worry about. Furthermore, if I had a compost pile I could have added the pulp, seeds and peels to it.
This leads me to an upcoming post: I have decided to explore the idea of growing my own food for my raw diet. Do you see the progression from eco-village visit to subsistence farmer? Maintaining my own micro-farm is an exciting idea for this suburbanite. I have no idea what the experience will truly be like - despite all the reading I'm doing, but I already have the land picked out in Ohio and a couple of excited friends waiting to delve into this project with me. More to come. Woo hoo!!