Orange you glad it’s us with an update on what’s hot and what’s not in our kitchen right now? After all this talk on food politics and policies, we are due for a few tips and tricks on what to cook and eat this season. We had such a nice and mild winter in Northern California, that we’re not ready to let go of it just yet. Which means that when we’re in search for something juicy, fresh and sweet, we grab an orange, or two or three. They are still in season and can be a great addition to any meal. Honestly, we can’t say enough good things about this fruit that is so ubiquitous this time of year that it’s almost overlooked. And that is wholly undeserved, as a freshly peeled orange will (almost) never disappoint when it comes to getting a little juicy freshness delivered to you in bite-sized form. Come and cook with us!
Oranges, and citrus fruit in general, are packed with Vitamin C, one of the premier antioxidants ready to fight those damaging free radicals in our body. But more than that, they have about 170 cancer-fighting phytochemicals and 60 flavonoids, making them a nutritional powerhouse of a fruit. Oranges also contain blood-pressure lowering potassium, calcium, fiber and folate. And if that has not convinced you yet, the orange color comes from the carotenoid betacryptoxanthin which is known to protect the heart.
To benefit from all of this nutrition, we eat the whole fruit, including all the white stuff which contains many of these healthy compounds. Don’t be fooled by the juice unless you have a powerful blender that whips it up from pulp, pith, peel (if organic) and all. The best way to store oranges are at room temperature if we eat them within a few days. That way they stay juiciest. We store the fruit in a produce bag or the crisper in the fridge if we want to keep them a little longer. And to make the most of the fruit, we use the orange zest of washed organic oranges to add a little tang to our baked goods.
So whether you have a sweet spot for navel, kara kara or the bloody ones, next time you are at the market load up on these juicy healthy treats and turn them into your snack, a dessert or a delicious salad such as this Fennel, Avocado and Orange Salad that is always a big hit with my families and friends. Give it a try and come and cook with us!