Historically accurate juices

One of my projects during the shutdown has been an investigation of the changes that have gone on in our citrus supply over the previous century. It hasn’t come as much of a surprise to find that, as the American palate drifts ever sweeter, so too have the varietals of citrus grown for the American market. Of particular interest to me are the changes that have taken place in the juices of grapefruits and oranges (limes and lemons have been less biochemically affected by the ravages of the Western diet). I have been seeking out older chemical assays from agricultural journals and government surveys, and have found some very interesting differences between modern and historical varieties pertaining to their acid content, sugar to acid ratios, and flavor.

I have also found what I believe to be the best guess as to what grapefruits would have been used by bars in Havana in the 1920s and 1930s. I will likely be doing a full write up of the research soon enough, but before I do I wanted to reach out to the community here to see if anyone knows of specific varieties advertised in Cuban (or Floridian or Texan) agricultural distributors at the time. I have access to contemporary assays for about a dozen grapefruit varietals and about the same for oranges.

My research expertise is limited to scientific databases, so any help in finding the appropriate sources for such information would also be greatly appreciated.


Im seeing this a little late. I dont know if you’re still looking. This may be a bit more historical narrative, less agricultural than youre looking for, but there is a journal that’s online called the Cuba Review and Bulletin, put out by the Munson Steamship Line. It changed names to the Cuba Review some time before 1920. It has quite a bit about fruit in it. It’s an odd little journal. I’ve used it to track stuff about the sugar industry and have come across interesting tidbits about the telephone cable from Havana to Miami and other fun stuff. Since most of it is online, it might be worth a quick search.

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Thanks, I hadn’t seen that one. I’ve spent most of my time searching through University of Florida’s Cuban Digital Collection and hadn’t come across that one.

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