New from Welch’s are three refrigerated “uniquely refreshing” drinks – actually “juice beverage blends” – called Fruit & Botanical. Mr. Tidbit has no idea what the second part of that name is supposed to convey. Various dictionaries lead him to understand that there is something plant-related in there besides the fruit, but they don’t explain why he should care. One dictionary notes that “botanical” could refer to “a substance obtained from a plant and used as an additive, especially in gin or cosmetics.”
The flavors are Cucumber Watermelon, Raspberry Hibiscus and Strawberry Blossom. OK; cucumber isn’t a fruit, and Mr. Tidbit vaguely recalls having long ago seen ads for something cosmetic that also involved putting cucumber slices over your eyes. He hasn’t heard of cucumber gin, but these days anything’s possible. A similar analysis of the other two flavors yields similar results. Mr. Tidbit will leave, as a homework assignment, the question of why anyone should care.
Shifting to his more conventional discussion, Mr. Tidbit points out that these beverages are 20 percent juice (filtered water is the first ingredient). And in no case is the named fruit juice the first non-water ingredient. Both Cucumber Watermelon and Raspberry Hibiscus are primarily apple juice from concentrate; Strawberry Blossom is primarily grape juice from concentrate.
There is cucumber juice (from concentrate) in the Cucumber Watermelon variety, and there’s hibiscus extract in the Raspberry Hibiscus version, although it’s the last ingredient – after citric acid “(for tartness)” and natural flavor, and it is listed as “hibiscus extract (color).” There’s no strawberry blossom at all in Strawberry Blossom. The last ingredient is “natural elderflower flavor.”
Being uncharacteristically generous, Mr. Tidbit allows that – since the names of the other two varieties consist of a fruit and a “botanical” separated by an invisible comma – we should read Strawberry Blossom as Strawberry comma (unnamed) Blossom.
Where Mr. Tidbit saw them, the 59-ounce cartons had the same price as Welch’s more conventional refrigerated beverages.
Short, saucy story
There’s a new entry in the business of cooking sauces in shelf-stable pouches: Spice giant McCormick has jumped in with both feet, offering no less than eleven varieties: two oven-bake sauces, three slow-cooker sauces and eight skillet sauces.