Minute Maid Concentrated Orange Juice Can


This 6-oz. metal can that once held frozen orange juice concentrate represents the way many Americans got their morning glass of juice in the 1950s and ‘60s. It contained a frozen cylinder of concentrated juice that had to be thawed and mixed with water in order to drink. Many households adopted the habit of placing a frozen can of concentrate in the refrigerator to thaw overnight so that mixing it with water in the morning would be faster and easier.

Frozen orange juice concentrate was developed by scientists at the National Research Corporation (NRC), working with support from the federal government and the Florida Department of Citrus. Their goal was to improve the quality of food for American troops during World War II. In the early 1940s, soldiers were supplied with lemon crystals for Vitamin C, but too many of the crystals went uneaten because of the unpleasant taste. The NRC scientists examined the conventional process for evaporating the water from fresh juice, which was done in a vacuum at very low temperatures (minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit). The resulting flavor was so concentrated it didn’t taste like fresh juice. The researchers discovered, however, that flavor was restored by adding more fresh juice to the concentrate as it came out of the evaporator. The process of adding "cut-back" to the concentrate was patented in 1948 and quickly adapted for the postwar consumer market. Orange juice concentrate production in Florida grew from 3 plants in 1948 to 10 the following year.

Minute Maid, born out of the success of frozen orange juice concentrate, was named to reflect the product’s convenience and ease of preparation. In 1965, after the company was sold to Coca Cola, Minute Maid’s packaging underwent a dramatic redesign, from its original white, orange, and green color scheme to the dramatic black and orange design of this can.

See Hamilton, Alissa. Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).

Date Made: 1965

See more items in: Work and Industry: Food Technology, Food, FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

Exhibition: Food: Transforming the American Table

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Gift of Cory Bernat

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2012.0019.01Accession Number: 2012.0019Catalog Number: 2012.0019.01

Object Name: can

Physical Description: metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 in x 2 1/8 in; 10.16 cm x 5.3975 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-a015-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1417782

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