Thursday, March 08, 2007

TrueBlue Blueberry Juice

Recently, I was sent two 16 oz bottles of TrueBlue Blueberry Juice to sample: one was plain blueberry juice and the other was blueberry-pomegranate. I was interested in trying the juice for a couple of reasons: first, I have rarely seen blueberry juice on its own* . I always assumed that there was something about blueberries that didn't make it a good choice for juice, either cost or flavor but I guess that is not the case any more.

The second reason I wanted to try the juice is that the juices are made with cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. I love drinks made with cane sugar and will go out of my way to seek them out. You'd be surprised how much better they taste than ones made from with high fructose corn syrup. Even soda benefits from being made with cane sugar. Of course, juices made without any added sugars are out there, but the majority have some sort of sweetener, and when they do, I prefer cane sugar.

I tried both of the juices and was pretty much impressed. They have a good blueberry flavor without being over powering. The blueberry-pomegranate is definitely blueberry-pomegranate and not pomegranate-blueberry, the blueberry taste is strong and clear. It was my favorite out of the two. The pomegranate provided a good balance to the blueberry. They are both high in antioxidants and are high pigment fruits so that makes it seem like a particularly healthy beverage choice.

The plain blueberry (like the one pictured above) is actually a mix of blueberry and grape juice** and while the flavor is clearly blueberry and not grape, is a little sweeter than I like my juice to be. Grape juice tends to be on the sweet side so that might be the culprit here. The pomegranate version didn't taste as sweet even though it too contained grape juice, although I am assuming in smaller quanities. I think this one would be best thinned out with some club soda or served as a mixer in a cocktail to cut the sweetness a bit. I also am going to look for larger bottles at the store to experiment with-maybe make some sorbet with fresh blueberries and juice instead of water?

Blueberries are shown to promote good urinary track health (not a major concern of mine, but if this is an issue with you and you drink cranberry juice for that reason, this might be a good substitute), are shown to lower cholesterol and help prevent blindness. Each 16 oz bottle, although it contains 2 servings, has as much juice as a full (1/2 cup) serving of blueberries. Each 8 oz serving contains your daily allowance of Vitamin C. If all that isn't a reason to pick up some blueberries or try this juice, I don't know what is. TrueBlue juice is also more affordable than the few other blueberry juices I've seen at places like Whole Foods. This might be because it is made from concentrate, but honestly, I normally can't taste that much of a difference between berry juices that are made from concentrate or are fresh pressed. It is also sold in the big 64 oz bottles at large chain grocery stores which is convenient if you drink a lot of juice and don't want to go out of your way.

*Which is why the part of the label that said it won "best new blueberry juice 2005" cracked me up. How many other "new" blueberry juices debuted in 2005? Is there a wave of blueberry juice that passed by without my noticing?

**A lot of commerically made fruit juices are actually blends of two or more fruits. Cranberry juice, for example, is frequently made by blending cranberries with other fruit juices to off set the cranberry's intense tartness.