BJIntense Blackcurrant Mix
This is our label of juice produced from our own fruit.
- Fruit 100% Tasmanian
- No added sugar
- No added preservative
- No added colour
- No added flavour
Where can I find it?
Firstly, if you don’t see your favourite grocer listed below, the surest way to get BJ on their shelves is for you to ask them for it – they’ll listen to a customer before they’ll listen to some guy who’s walked in off the street brandishing a bottle of purple stuff. Refer them to valleyfield.com.au/bj
Secondly, if you visit these stores below and can’t locate BJ, please ask for it – they may have sold out and, again, if you ask it’ll be restocked faster.
- Meredith’s Orchard, 1830 Channel Hwy, Margate
- York Store, 50 York St, Sandy Bay
- Liv-Eat – on the menu in their ‘Super Shot’ (Blackcurrant Spirulina) – Sandy Bay (15 Magnet Crt), Eastlands (1 Bligh St, Rosny), and Launceston (86 Brisbane St) stores
- Eumarrah, 39 Barrack St, Hobart
- DS Café, 12 Main Rd, Huonville – in their smoothies.
- The Wholesome Health Bug, Huonville (Woollies complex)
- Geeveston Visitor Centre, 15 Church St, Geeveston.
- Red Door Larder, 20c Church St, Geeveston.
- Roadside at the farm – sometimes!
- Gulping it straight will send your tastebuds into overdrive – best served chilled.
- Mix one part BJ to three or four parts chilled water as a refreshing, zingy drink.
- Mix with soda water instead of water to ‘sweeten’ it – the effervescence takes away some of the tartness.
- Try a mulled blackcurrant juice for a winter warmer – see the recipe here.
- A squeeze of lemon can add to the flavour as well.
- Sweeten with sugar if you really need to, but give it a go without … (we’re the first to admit that it’s a polarising flavour – some people will find their face turns inside out).
- Use as a topping on vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
- Mix a generous amount with icecream and milk in a smoothie (yes, seriously – even people who aren’t keen on the juice flavour alone love it in a smoothie like this).
- A generous dash in the first stages of a pasta sauce base adds a zesty sweetness to the mix.
- Using as a drizzle with a kick when ‘plating up’ – the intense colour adds depth.
- Use in pretty much any recipe that calls for the blackcurrant flavour without the flesh and seeds – you’ll need to experiment but the flavour’s certainly there to work with.
So what is it?
It’s around 80% pure blackcurrant juice and 20% water. We only added water because real blackcurrant juice is so thick it wouldn’t pump through the pasteuriser!
Is it a health drink?
Interesting question. We’re not nutritionists, but we have done a bit of reading and formed some opinions…
The Scottish Crop Research Institute has been working with blackcurrants for many years. Their study suggests blackcurrants are higher in antioxidants than most cultivated berryfruits. Also, the high vitamin C content of blackcurrants is what made them a staple in the UK.
On the other hand, most recipes that include blackcurrants also include cooking, which dramatically reduces the vitamin C content and likely affects antioxidant levels as well (indeed, if you check the labels of blackcurrant drinks that suggest a high vitamin C content, you’ll more than likely find ascorbic acid on the ingredient list – this is vitamin C that has been added to the product). While our juice is made from cold-pressed fruit, the juice has been heat-pasteurised, meaning that those losses are likely to have occurred in our product as well.
Further, a glass of our blackcurrant juice contains the juice of far more blackcurrants than you’re likely to sit down and eat in one serve – and that holds for other fruit juices as well. This means your body is taking a massive hit of (natural) sugars in one serve, which triggers a strong insulin response (insulin is involved in regulating blood sugar levels). There is debate within the areas of nutrition and biochemistry at present, about the role fructose (fruit sugar) has in diabetes, and it seems likely that fructose – especially when added to other foods as a sweetener – is a culprit. On the other hand, some sources suggest fruit juice is a good natural sweetener for those who should otherwise be avoiding indulging a sweet tooth, such as diabetics, while others suggest that fruit juice is itself a contributor to diabetes, because the fructose is typically served in isolation from all the dietary fibre and other goodies that come from eating a whole piece of fruit.
And speaking of sweet teeth, fruit juices certainly cause tooth decay.
So, our short answer is that it would be a stretch to call it a health drink, although it’s safe to say that it’s going to be a lot healthier than other beverages on the market. If you want a genuine health drink, have a glass of water (it’s good!) And if you want all the health benefits of fruit, your best bet is to eat it as whole fruit.
We’d suggest that any fruit juice should be treated as a ‘sometimes’ food if consumed undiluted. On the other hand, we’re happy to challenge you to find another blackcurrant juice that has zero added sugar and which has the level of pulpiness of our product.
We struggled over the name. We can’t really call it Blackcurrant Juice because it’s “only” 80% juice. But it’s also not cordial, or syrup, because we haven’t added sugar. But it is insanely blackcurranty, so we were keen to convey that. So we’ve settled on “BJ – Intense Blackcurrant”.
What's the shelf life?
Currently we’re recommending BJ is best consumed within 6 months of bottling. Following ongoing testing, there is no need to refrigerate the product prior to opening, although if it’s cold when opened, it will last longer once opened – and it should go in the fridge once opened. The shelf life is growing based on ongoing testing.
The best before date is either near the barcode (on the newer, clear labels) or on the lid (on the older, opaque labels).
Is it safe to drink after the best before date?
Yes, if it’s been kept sealed, but if it’s been opened, we’re recommending that it should be consumed within a week (again, if it’s been refrigerated – refrigeration is important after opening).
“Best before” dates are about food quality, rather than food safety (“Use by” dates are about food safety). The blackcurrant juice is a very stable product with a low pH (high acidity) which means it’s relatively low risk in terms of hosting the bad guys that typically cause food safety issues.
Fermentation is the likely quality problem that will eventually occur. When you open the bottle it may make a “pppffft” sound – and this should be air entering the bottle rather than pressure leaving (because the juice is bottled hot, and reduces in volume as it cools, creating a vacuum). Eventually, though, you may notice the same sound because the juice has started fermenting – and eventually you would also notice bubbles rising. At this point it tingles on the tongue (not to be mistaken with the usual zest that the juice delivers!)
This means the juice is starting to become alcoholic. We can’t recommend consuming it at this stage (we don’t have a liquor licence!) – and it certainly shouldn’t be served to children.