Fresh-Squeezed Juices at H-E-B

I'm smitten with the W. Alabama H-E-B, in part because of its wide selection of Heinz products.

Although I also have been admiring H-E-B's fresh-squeezed juice bar, it wasn't until last week that I actually confirmed the rainbow assortment of flavors did (at least in two cases) taste as good as it looks.

H-E-B regularly offers free samples of the fresh-squeezed orange juice, which, albeit very tasty, is a bit too acidic for me to consume in large quantities. So while I enjoyed my complimentary mini-cup, I ultimately decided to buy 16-ounce bottle ($2.99) of watermelon juice.

Though not as trendy as acai, goji, or pomegranate, watermelon juice has numerous health benefits, with fewer calories per glass than other fruit juices.

I've always liked eating watermelon but found that juice-running-down-your-arms thing rather annoying (it's unclear to me why so many seem to romanticize that side effect). Drinking a neat glass of watermelon juice was therefore appealing as much for the tidiness factor as the taste.

Just a few sips of H-E-B's mild watermelon juice alerts you to the fact that 1) artificial watermelon flavor is cloying and gross, and 2) other processed varieties of watermelon juice are loaded with sugar. With the exception of the lemonade and limeade, H-E-B juices contain no added sugar; they're as close as you can get to plunking a straw into the fruit and slurping away. I guess I could do that with a watermelon, but knowing my luck, I'd probably run into a hot guy in the process and say something dumb.

Because the fresh-squeezed juices ain't cheap, I can't make a habit of the juice bar. They are, however, perfect for a fancy picnic lunch or even a treat on an especially sweaty afternoon.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joanna O'Leary