Rio juice bars

I don’t think I can remember how many times we have had fresh squeezed and blended juice on this segment of our Brazil trip in Rio. Throughout the city, no matter where you are, there will always be a juice bar at the corner of the street you are on, if not two or three. They will all have a vast range of tropical fruits that you may not have even heard of unless you grew up in South America (or really like vitamin supplements, since a lot of these fruits’ extracts are used in vitamin supplements that people take). Chris always complains that he is guava deprived since he had it so often when living in Australia and can never get it anywhere in North America unless it’s from a juice can I get him from Chinatown, so he’s pretty much refused to order any juice that is not guava, unless the juice bar has run out of it. Passion fruit and/or mango are close seconds for him. I’ve had passion fruit, mango, caju (Portuguese for “cashew,” but NOT nut juice like you are imagining. This juice comes from the fruit of the cashew nut tree – tastes like hints of apple, pineapple, and something slightly creamy?), fruta de conde/Brazilian sugar apple, and acerola (like a tomato-sized berry – very citrusy and sweet).

It suddenly hit me while sitting at a juice bar eating lunch with Chris today that all the juices we have are frothy, thick, and have all the pulp. The people behind the counter are literally taking the skinned fruit and throwing them into blenders. Why can’t they do that in the States? Every time you get juice at the store or at a juice store back home, it’s always clear and generally pulp free, which really defeats the purpose of having fruit. Fruit juice should be whole fruit, otherwise the key nutrients are just being thrown away. It’s part of the reason I detest the idea of juice cleanses (you’re paying a lot of money for the parts of the fruit that aren’t even nutrient-dense) and why I get annoyed at all the fruit juice carton labels that say “Pulp-Free.” I always grew up drinking juice with pulp and never understood why people didn’t want pulp in juice. Isn’t that what’s natural and good?

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