How do you buy, store and enjoy oranges in all the ways? With an abundance of citrus comes the duty of buying it responsibly, caring for it properly, and preparing it in ways that let it shine its bright citrus self during the cold winter months.
Winter brings the amazing bounty of citrus! Little delights the palette as does a peak-season navel orange, or satisfies the inner perfectionist as peeling a clementine in one fell swoop. But what if you buy more than you know what to do with?
Don’t worry–I’ve got you.
HOW TO BUY
Oranges are in season between December-April, so now is the time to buy! The exception are Valencia oranges, which are available in the summer. Look for vibrant peels and feel for heavy fruits. Heavier means there’s more juice.
Use a cloth produce bag rather than using a plastic bag! Plastic bags are not recycled in most of the country, so reusable will not only make you feel good but will be healthier for you and the planet overall. If you’re already in the habit of bringing reusable totes to take home your groceries, purchase some reusable produce bags for those oranges.
Look for organic oranges, which have up to 30% more vitamin C than their conventionally grown counterparts (Nutra). Buying organic also helps combat climate change, as fertilizer runoff from conventional farming prevents the ocean from converting CO2 to oxygen. The UDSA allows some fertilizers and pesticides to be used in organic farming, but the impacts are not as severe as those caused by conventional farming. More on this later.
TYPES OF ORANGES
- Valencia: The most common type of orange in the US. Sweet, most commonly used for juice.
- Navel: Juicy, zippy in flavor, amazing on their own or in a zingy salad.
- Cara cara: Sweeter with berry notes, slightly red in color
- Blood orange: Deep red in color… Unique flavor that tastes slightly like raspberry.
- Clementines/Mandarines: Super sweet, snackable minified breed of orange.
HOW TO STORE ORANGES
Store oranges at room temperature for up to a week in a cool place out of direct sunlight. If you live in the north or middle of the country where oranges are not grown (aka most places in the US), your oranges may have been packed with a chemical spray that prolongs their shelf life. (The USDA doesn’t require companies to disclose the use of this chemical on their packaging.) In this case, they may last longer than a week before softening.
If you’re keeping them for longer, store them in the fridge for several weeks.
WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW
Citrus is Florida’s second-largest industry after tourism, and in recent years, 90% of the citrus groves have been infected with a virus that prevents the fruit from ripening. Since 2004, the number of citrus growers in Florida has dropped from 7000 to 2000 (Washington Post). The virus thrives at 25C, so there’s a chance that rising temperatures due to climate change have caused it to thrive and spread.
HOW TO USE
+ Eat by itself
+ Top yogurt/ice cream
+ Bake a cake
+ Make a killer salad
+ Use the peels to make natural house cleaner
SOME GOOD LOOKING RECIPES
Citrus Fennel & Avocado Salad on Foodie Crush
Sicilian Whole Orange Cake on Christina’s Cucina
Winter Citrus Mimosas with Blood Orange & Honey on Plays Well With Butter
Caramelized Oranges on Splendid Table – I may even stir in some butter, depending on what I plan to use it for.
What are your favorite citrus recipes? I’d loooove to know! Comment and link them below!