Last week during my evening L Train commute in New York City, I sat down next to an elderly woman bundled in battered winter garb. I started to read my book until out of the corner of my eye, I see the woman unsheeth a plastic knife from a white paper bag—followed by a large, shiny orange. Usually eating on the subway is not something I condone, however, as she made a perfectly angled first incision into the shiny orange rind, I watched with bated breath. Instantly, the cleansing floral scent of citrus swirled through the air purifying the stench of the underground train—pleasantly reminding me that, in some parts of the country, orange season is indeed here.
Originating in Asia thousands of years ago, oranges are available year round but are at peak season December through March. Oranges have great health benefits: high fiber, calcium, vitamin A, folic acid. Most notably, oranges are chock full of vitamin C, which plays an essential role in the immune system. In fact, one orange supplies around 116% of the daily suggested value of vitamin C.
Orange recipes and tips, after the jump.
With over 600 varieties of oranges available, this highly popular citrus fruit has been divided into two schools: sweet and bitter. The sweet orange category is the most popular, with varieties such as the Valencia, Navel, Jaffa, and Blood orange. The Valencia orange has thinner skin, a very low seed count, and is one of the most popular and sweetest oranges, accounting for 50% of orange production. Bitter oranges, which are most commonly used to make jams and marmalades, include varieties such as the Chinotto, Bittersweet, African, and Argentine.
When purchasing oranges look for firm, heavy fruits with bright-looking skin. Avoid oranges that feel light, which would indicate a low flesh and juice content, and steer clear of rough, dull, discolored skin or a spongy texture. Store oranges in a cool place outside the refrigerator—or, to prolong freshness, put oranges in a plastic bag and keep them in the crisper section of the refrigerator.
- Chocolate Cakes Grilled in Orange Shells
- Pistachio and Almond Cake with Orange Salad
- Mandarin Sorbet
- Chicken with Citrus Sauce
- Poppy-Crusted Sea Scallops on Fennel and Orange Salad
- Orange and Red Onion Salad
- Spaghetti with Tomato and Orange Juice
How do you like to use oranges?