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goya naranja agria

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I was watching Daisy Cooks today. She used a bottled naranja agria from goya instead of pressing bitter oranges herself. She's usually pretty good about the quality of products she usees. It's made from concentrate but contains no salt but a few preservatives. Label doesn't indicate if it needs to be refrigerated after opening. I assume it should be. But I'm wondering how long it keeps once opened. Is it fairly long like other reconstituted citrust juices? Label also indicates it's a marinade, but it doesn't have what you would usually see added to marinades. Granted, I've only seen naranja agria used as a marinade.

I've never seen bitter oranges in my area, but I know a Hispanic grocer that carries this product. Is it an acceptable substitute--unlike those other reconstituted citrus?

Phil
post #2 of 10
Bottled naranja agria is very acidic, probably very similar in acid content to bottled lemon juice. Also, goya products are usually loaded with preservatives. With the acid content/preservatives involved, I'd wager to say that it will last for quite a while in the fridge, definitely months.

That being said...

Reconstituted citrus juice really sucks. By the time it's gone through all the processing, it bears little resemblance to it's original form.

I've seen some cookbook authors recreate bitter orange juice by combining regular oj and vinegar while others utilize lemon juice. I definitely wouldn't recommend vinegar. I'd go with the lemon juice workaround. If memory serves me correctly, equal parts oj, grapefruit juice and lemon juice produce a reasonable facsimile of bitter orange juice. It won't be dead on, but it'll be a thousand times closer than the bottled stuff and taste a heck of a lot better too.

How's your Spanish? If your Hispanic grocer carries the bottled juice, there may be certain times of the year when the fresh fruit is available. Also, if you have any other Hispanic grocers in your area you can give them a call. It's pronounced nahrAHnga ahrEEah (soft rolled r in ahrEEah, closer to an l sound). I asked for 'fresco' but I think if you knew the translation for 'not bottled' it would get you further.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I don't speak spanish. I've used the orange juice with lime juice. It tastes pretty good. But it has a lot more sugar in it than the real thing. so it's tricky to cook the same way as the sugars scorch fairly easily, or turn carmelly.

I'll have to save the question for Rick Bayless.

Thanks for the response.

Phil
post #4 of 10
I am a believer in "if a recipe specifies an ingredient, you change it at your own risk." That is, the recipe has been created and tested using those exact ingredients, and if you make a substitution you must be aware that the finished dish will not taste as the recipe developer intended. I agree that it would probably be better to use real sour orange juice if you can get it. But I'm not so sure that mixing up a substitute from other fruits would be better for the dish than using the product Daisy calls for. From what I know of her, she is very careful about developing her recipes.

I have a bottle of Goya naranja agria in my pantry (I use it when making pernil -- roasted marinated pork shoulder -- and other Latin American-style dishes). And here's what it contains:
So in a 355ml bottle, there's 0.1775ml each of the first two, and 0.071ml of the last. Putting it into ounces, the 12-ounce bottle contains 0.006 ounces (6/1000ths of an ounce) and 0.0024 ounces (24/10,000ths), respectively. One drop is 1/60th of a teaspoon, which makes 1 drop = 1/360th of an ounce. Which means 2.16 drops and 0.864 drops IN THE WHOLE BOTTLE. With all due respect, Scott, that doesn't strike me as "loaded with preservatives". ;) Obviously, if I've got the stuff, I have no qualms about using it.

But if you do, in Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, he recommends the following:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Bayless's mix looks good. The goya isn't pricey. I'll have to try some of both and see about the taste differences.

Phil
post #6 of 10
Well, Suzanne, it depends on what you classify as a preservative ;) Citric Acid, although commonly used for flavoring, is also a known preservative. Although I don't know for certain, the orange oil and the grapefruit extract are probably preservatives as well. As far as the items actually listed as preservatives are concerned, their use is not as sparing as the labeling attempts to portray. For instance, the sulfur dioxide in this is about the same as the amount typically used to preserve a bottle of wine (200 ppm). That, by itself, is nothing to scoff at. Combined with the sorbate, the benzoate, the copious amount of citric acid and the other potential preservatives listed, I promise you, this is overkill.

Bayless's mix looks superb. Thanks for posting that. Most of the time, I'm no more than a half hour drive from fresh sour oranges, but there are times when none are available. That'll be the recipe I'll go with in those instances.
post #7 of 10
Sorry, but I find it hard to think of orange oil and grapefruit extract as preservatives; to me they are flavorings, and "natural" ones at that. I'll grant you the citric acid, but now we can get into "natural" preservatives versus "chemical" ones. In any case, to me the amount of preservatives in this product is an issue of much less importance than, say, the (unlisted) amount of bovine growth hormone in milk.

I do want to repeat the caveat about changing recipes, though: if you make a substitution, do not expect the recipe to work/taste as the developer intended. Not that it will be "worse," just that it will be different. In this case, using Bayless's "concoction" (his word) might make it considerably more acidic, since the Goya product is diluted. So if you make that substitution and then hate the finished dish, don't blame Daisy.

BTW: Scott, it's great to see you again! I've missed our, um, discussions. ;) :lol:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 10
When I can't get sour orange, I've always used 50/50 orange juice and lime juice. I use lots of Goya products(I'm Cuban) but i prefer the taste of fresh juice for this.

Tony
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
I tried a bottle. Not the whole bottle actually as my son knocked the rest of out of the secondary fridge and spilled it.The bottle didn't break, just the lid. Does interesting things to concrete.

It's a little flat in comparison to the orange/lemon/lime juice fix up method as tasted straight up.

The cooked product, chicken in my case, was still good. I think I'd give the nod to the fixup method overall. But I wouldn't throw this out either for those times when you're pressed for time. As a home cook, there is a convenience factor that enters into things from time to time.

Phil
post #10 of 10
Suzanne,

I make a dish similar to what you described. It is called "cochinita pibil".
It is a dish from the yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It is definitely a blend
of different food cultures. In the classic recipe seville orange juice and
grapefruit juice is called for. I imagine they both act as a mild antiseptic
and tenderize the meat. The other leading flavor is achiote past or
powder. I use fresh hams or boston butts for this dish. I also wrap the
meat in fresh banana leaves and then an old but clean cotten sheet and
cook in a small pit undeground. I build a fire in a 3 to 4 foot pit and add
granite rocks or river rocks. Once the fire has burned down to coals, I
dip the sheet wrapped marinated ham in water quickly and lay it over the
rocks. Then put a few more rocks on top and cover with the dirt. 6 to 8
hours later, you are making tacos of heaven.

Sour orange is just another convenience item. Asian food has theirs and
latino food has theirs. When making carne al pastor or Mexican barbeque
many dried spices and condiments like sour orange are used these days.
You can substitute vinegar or citrus. I prefer a white distilled vinegar or
red wine vinegar. It purely for the sour. Its the same as making a true
salsa verde with tomatillos. It is for the sour. It is a substitute for lime.
Many times it is a question of availability or price. For example hibiscus
flowers for aqua de Jaimaca or cactus pears for aqua de tuna. They all
will give you a slight sour taste and do have some value in reguard to
vitamin content. When you are pour in Mexico you may blend raw rice,
sugar, and cinnamon and serve as milk. You may make atole out of corn
as a substitute for milk. It is a strange and colorful culture in food and
in lifestyle. I am by know means a expert on latino food, but do know a
little about it. I cook dinner at home on a daily basis and my wife is
from Mexico. She holds on to here culture very tightly. When she says
"this tastes just like my moms", it makes me shine. Anyway, have a great
day!

Stephen
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