One of the highlights of winter is the abundance of sweet, seasonal oranges — though you can find them year-round, they’re at their peak between December and April. And nothing compares to the taste of fresh oranges; growing up in Pennsylvania, orange juice from concentrate was the norm, and the fresh-squeezed juice I was introduced to at my grandparents’ house in Florida was a revelation.
Oranges, which are not only an excellent source of vitamin C but also a good source of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and a wide variety of phytonutrients, don’t have to be a bright orange color to be good. But look for specimens with smoothly textured skin and those that are firm and heavy for their size (they’ll be juicier). Store oranges either at room temperature or in the fridge.
Thick-skinned oranges like Navels can be hard to peel with your fingers; try paring away the skin with a sharp knife. To create membrane-free sections called “supremes,” run your knife along the membranes separating each section and release the sections into a bowl. Thinner-skinned tangerines and clementines are easily peeled with your fingers.
Fresh orange juice is unparalleled in recipes. Always juice room temperature oranges, you’ll get the most juice out of them. And just as you would with a lemon, you can press and roll an orange on a flat surface to extract more juice. Whether you use a juicer or squeeze oranges by hand, you can save any leftover juice for later use by freezing it in ice cube trays and then storing the cubes in a plastic bag in the freezer.
To give your recipes the most intense orange flavor, use the zest of oranges (preferably organic ones, to avoid pesticides). The zest also boasts some unique beneficial compounds along with all that concentrated flavor and aroma. A zester, grater or microplane tool will all do the job nicely. Just be sure to take off only the orange peel and leave the bitter white pith behind when zesting.
Of course, oranges are also great on their own. Don’t fancy peeling them? Enjoy them like my grandmother did — simply cut in half and scooped out with a serrated spoon, as you would with grapefruit. And be sure to branch out from breakfast and add them to recipes for all times of the day. From starter courses to entrees to desserts, here are six recipes with the sweet goodness of oranges.
After working outside in 85-plus degree weather all day, and coming into this awesome and healthy meal, you'll be in heaven. This meal is slightly spicy, citrusy, delicious, and refreshing! Best of all, it's not too bad for you!