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Thoughts from author: Anna Clare

less waste in the world

Like most people, we don’t like to waste stuff. Whether we’re whipping up something fancy out of our Sunday roast leftovers or folding our wrapping paper instead of scrunching it, we’re big fans of never chucking things away without making the most of them.

When it comes to our drinks, we’re just as keen to make sure that any excess doesn’t go to waste. To help deliver any leftover juice and smoothies to people who really need them, we started working with a charity called FareShare when we started the business back in 1999. FareShare save good food and drink destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people across the UK.

We deliver our drinks to sixteen of FareShare’s Regional Centres located across the UK so that they can be distributed to vulnerable people from Bristol all the way up to Edinburgh. The extra drinks directly benefit 2,233 charities and community groups, 24% of which are serving children, 18% serving people experiencing homelessness and 7% serving older people at centres such as lunch clubs.

We’re chuffed to say that we’ve just a hit a milestone with FareShare and have now provided over a million portions of fruit to people who need it.

We’re really proud of everything we’ve achieved with FareShare, and are excited to see how many more drinks we can send their way next year. Now, excuse us while we rip the sellotape off this wrapping paper really carefully. 

Kiwis. What came first – the bird or the fruit?

We travel far and wide to source the finest fruit for our drinks, which can take us to sunny places, rainy places, and, occasionally, downright explosive places. We stay as close to the fruit as we can to make sure it’s as tasty and responsibly sourced as possible, and our kiwis, odd-looking and slightly hairy as they may be, are no exception.

 

We make a purée from our kiwis to use in drinks like these. Because we don’t want to waste any kiwi, we actually use the whole fruit, from the seeds to the fuzzy coating. Nobody wants a fuzzy purée, so, to avoid this, we carefully wash the fruit and then sieve it several times which ensures that the purée tastes as delicious and hairless as a purée made from bald kiwis would be.

It’s important not to be ‘that guy’ who only bangs on about fruit, so we ask other important questions to our growers in New Zealand. Like whether the bird was named after the fruit or the fruit after the bird. We’re chuffed to confirm that (drumroll) it was in fact the fruit that was named after the bird. Ages ago, somewhere in New Zealand, someone decided to name the local birds ‘kiwis’. Then, the word ‘kiwi’ was applied as a nickname to things from New Zealand, the world largest producer of kiwi. One day, the Chinese gooseberry was renamed as ‘kiwi fruit’ for marketing purposes in New Zealand. The rest is history.

So that’s one of the big questions answered. Use it (in pub quizzes) wisely.

When life gives you lemons

Lemon juice. Useful for cooking (or baking a fine lemon drizzle cake) but you probably wouldn’t want to wash your lunch down with a bottle of the stuff. Which is why you won’t see an ‘innocent 100% lemon juice’ included in your supermarket meal deal. We know what the people (don’t) want.

While it’s not the best on it’s own, we do use lemon juice in some of our drinks (like these ones here). Lemon juice is excellent for it’s natural sharpness and helps give our recipes that zesty kick. But not too zesty or kicky. Just the right zesty kickiness.

photo: our lemons growing in the sunshine

What we don’t use is the skin. Lemon skin isn’t really suitable for smoothies. But luckily we know some people who will happily take the skins off our hands. You see, when you scratch an un-waxed lemon it realises essential oils and essences. These can be used as flavourings in food or as scents in perfume (so next time you’re down the shops buying a bottle of limone e’au de toilette, you know where it’s come from).

The skins can also be dried and used in teabags. Think lemon & ginger. And, if you like a side of jam with your tea and scones, then you’ll be pleased to hear that lemon peel is a key ingredient in pectin, the ingredient that sets the jam and makes it spreadable.

The rest is just leftovers. And who would want a pile of citrus-scented leftovers? Cows, that’s who. Those citrusy leftovers can be made into animal pellets and fed to cattle.

So, quite a useful little fruit really. We love it here at innocent and dedicate a lot of time to making sure we get the sweetest, least bitter juice for our drinks. Our fruit team have recently been in Europe making sure that we’re only sourcing the best tasting lemons (and occasionally making this face).

So, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. And innocent drinks. And perfume. And teabags. And jam. And cow pellets. As the old saying goes.

90 important things about the Queen

The Queen is 90 today. Here are ninety things you need to know about the Queen:

1. She refers to herself as 'Juan'

2. She puts a flag up every time she goes home

3. She's singlehandedly keeping the telegram industry in business

4. She puts up with Philip

5. She stops people from eating swans

6. She probably doesn't know who the Kardashians are

7. She has a signature wave

8. She's always on the money

9. She doesn't have a driving license but she still drives

10. She doesn't need a passport to travel

11. She can't be arrested. She is the law.

12. She drinks champagne every day before dinner

13. She has her own cash point in her basement

14. She is the world's most underrated lad

15. Her middle name is 'Regina'

16. She is the face that launced 1000* ships (*23 which is still a lot)

17. She made garden parties a thing

18. All of her dogs have funny names

19. She had a corgi named 'Dookie' as a child, proving she's a fan of Green Day's early records

20. She probably doesn't know that Zayn has left One Direction to embark on a solo career

21. She really put her stamp on the postal system

22. She has Cocker Spaniels called Bisto & Oxo

23. She sat through N-Dubz at the 2010 Royal Variety Performance without trying to leave once

24. She was given a sloth on her travels

25. She's never taken the sloth on a state visit

26. She needs to hire a more pro-sloth PR team

27. She photobombed that one time

28. It doesn't matter how far in advance she tries to book it off, she always has to work on Christmas Day

29. She's never had 6 wives

30. She's never beheaded any of them

31. She's never sent anyone to the Tower

32. She's not a violent sort of person

33. She thinks it would be foolish of us to not mention smoothies at least twice in this list

34. She definitely loves innocent smoothies

35. She's met Churchill, Kennedy, Hawking. Alexandra Burke. All the big names.

36. She's always dressed like she's ready to crash a wedding

37. She probably always goes for the 'speedy boarding' option

38. She's opened a lot of good bridges

39. She said 'annus horribilus' once which sounds sort of rude

40. She's probably never had a kebab after a night out

41. She has the power to create Lords. Appoint them, not magic them out of thin air.

42. She has an excellent grumpy face

43. She has an excellent happy face

44. She's the master of small talk

45. She is singlehandedly responsible for the periodic booms in the bunting industry

46. She technically owns all sturgeons, whales, porpoises and dolphins within 3 miles of UK shores. They are known as 'fishes royal'

47. She has a corgi called Monty

48. She has a corgi called Linnet

49. She used to have a Corgi called Susan. RIP Susan.

50. She's probably never assembled flat pack furniture

51. She looks good in an oil painting

52. She's keeping brooch makers in business

53. She probably uses the word 'poppycock'

54. During her reign there's been 12 prime ministers, 6 popes and about 27 Fast & Furious films

55. She was definitely landing a killer punch line when this photo was takenhttps://twitter.com/innocent/status/723092724618956802

56. She's sent more tweets than your grandmother ever has

57. When she shops, she shuts the place down

58. She's probably never described her relationship status as 'complicated' on Facebook

59. She has 2 birthdays. Just because she can

60. Pubs will be allowed to stay open 2 hours later on her official birthday in June

61. She probably doesn't know what Emojis are

62. She used ration coupons to buy the materials for her wedding dress in 1946

63. She's the only person who gets to sing 'God Save Me' during the National Anthem

64. She probably uses the word 'whoopsidaisies'

65. She's probably never played 'Cards Against Humanity'

66. She's one of the only people who can get away with referring to herself in the third person

67. She combined a Corgi and a Daschund to make Dorgis

68. She has a Dorgi called Vulcan

69. She has a Dorgi called Cider

70. She has a Dorgi called Candy

71. She has a Dorgi called Berry

72. She was definitely on the sherry when she came up those dog names

73. Gary Barlow organised her Diamond Jubilee party for some reason

74. JLS performed

75. So did Blue

76. So did Atomic Kitten

77. Grace Jones hula hooped for a while

78. On reflection, hiring a professional party planner would have been a good idea

79. She's probably never worn tracksuit bottoms

80. She's the only monarch with a ferris wheel capsule named after her

81. We get a day off when she does stuff

82. She pretended to jump out of a plane at the Olympics opening ceremony

83. She'll write you a letter if you live long enough

84. She's probably never had a microwave meal

85. She could shut parliament down. If she wanted to.

86. She's probably shouted "OFF WITH HIS HEAD" as a joke when somebody made fun of her

87. She's done a lot for pastel coloured overcoat/hat combos

88. She probably couldn't name any of the members of Blazin' Squad

89. She's so far reigned for 23,451 days - which is about as long as the battery life of the Nokia 3310

90. Today is only her unofficial birthday, so it probably isn't all that big of a deal. Forget we mentioned it.

the dark side of the orange

 

You might have heard us mention it once or twice, but we’re really picky about the fruit we use to make our drinks. It’s kind of like when you have people over for dinner and you only put out the best condiments and use your fancy napkins. We only ever include the finest quality fruit we can find, and the tastiest possible blend of that fruit. We’re also keen to use rare and unique varieties in our recipes to make sure that our drinks are that extra bit special (especially if we can get our hands on a variety that our drinkers have asked us to try out). So, taking all of these things into account, you’ll probably see why we decided to start using the rare and deliciously tangy blood orange in our latest recipe.

We certainly set ourselves a challenge as blood orange is a unique fruit, predominantly grown on the foothills of Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily.

Our Maria recently visited Sicily to learn more about our blood oranges, mainly to find out exactly how they are grown and make sure we’re only using the best quality blood oranges in our juice.

 

She found out that our blood oranges aren’t just growing at the foot of an active volcano because they like to live dangerously - the rich volcanic soil means that the trees get all of the special nutrients that they need to grow big and bountiful. The weather in the area is also really important because the oranges need sunshine and warmth during the day and cooler temperatures during the night to develop that rich, deep, bloody red that they’re famous for. Trees that are tucked up in the shade of the volcano grow to be a rich red, while the oranges that sit out in the Sicilian sun catching a few rays stay a much more orangey hue.

 

You can give our extra special volcanically grown blood oranges a try by picking one of these up at Waitrose. From the first sip, we can promise that you’ll be instantly transported to the foothills of Mount Etna. Not mid eruption, obviously. That wouldn’t be good.