Orange Season

Orange Season
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Oranges originate from South East Asia, but are now available in most warmer climates, with the United States being the major producer of oranges in the world. Oranges were not named for their color. The word orange comes from the Sanskrit naranga which means "fragrant".
Season: Depending on the variety, oranges are available all year long, with a peak season during the winter months.

Orange Varieties

There are three main varieties of oranges: sweet, loose- skinned and bitter.

Sweet: these oranges are for eating and juicing. They may have seeds or they may not. They are usually hard to peel. The three most popular sweet oranges are navel, Valencia and blood oranges.

Loose-skinned: these tend to be a part of the mandarin orange family. They can be sweet or even tart!

Bitter: these oranges are too bitter to eat raw. They need to be cooked to be palatable, for example, orange marmalade or bigarade sauce. Bitter oranges are also used to make essential oils and to make candied peel. Two types of oranges to look for when needing a bitter orange are Seville and bergamot.

Storage and More Tidbits

Oranges can safely be stored on the countertop for 2 - 3 days, but keep longer in the refrigerator, up to 14 days. Select an orange that is heavy for its size and shows no signs of bruising, or has any shriveled or moldy skin. If possible, pick a brilliant colored orange.

Oranges have been touted to have extremely high Vitamin C, which helps maintain a healthy immune system. They are also have high fiber and no fat, which means you will be able to lose those extra holiday pounds easier! Oranges also have a fair amount of Folic Acid, Calcium, Potassium and Thiamine! So, not only are oranges good for anyone to eat, but they are particularly healthy for expectant mothers.

Once cut or squeezed, the Vitamin C quickly disappears. After only 8 hours at room temperature (or 24 hours in the refrigerator), approximately 25% of the Vitamin C is lost. Thus, canned or bottled orange juice products tend to have lower Vitamin C content unless they are fortified!

Wine pairings depend on how you prepare your oranges and to what you are going to serve your orange-based recipe with, try one of these wines: Chardonnay, Fume Blanc, Grenache Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or a Syrah.

Spices: Oranges are unique in the fact that if you are making a sweet dish, you can use spices like: cinnamon and nutmeg with it. But oranges, also, go well with garlic, basil and thyme in savory dishes!

Equivalencies: 1 medium orange = 1/3 - 1/2 cup juice = 2 - 3 tbsp. peel = 3/4 cup diced flesh

Preparation Techniques

Segment: Peel the entire fruit first. Then, holding the fruit in one hand, cut alongside each side of the membranes. Try to leave as little of the flesh as possible. As you continue around the fruit, continue to cut between the membranes and the segments, folding the membranes back like you were reading a book.

Zesting: Rub the skin on a grater. Use a brush to remove the zest from the grater. Be careful not to get too much pith (white substance between the peel and the flesh) as this is very bitter.

Julienne: Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest off of the orange going lengthwise. Then using a sharp knife, cut these strips into very thin strips lengthwise.

Juicing: Before juicing any citrus fruit, roll the fruit on the counter. This will soften the insides and release more juices. Then, cut the fruit in half. Using a wooden juicer (or a fork), push it into the flesh and twist it around until all the juice has been released.

Peeling: Cut a slice of peel from each end of the orange. Standing the fruit upright, continue to slice the peel away from the flesh without removing too much flesh.

Orange Trivia

Trivia In China, orange peels are used to aid in digestion. They believe that citrus fruits are warming, thus very stimulating on the digestive tract.

In Medieval times, oranges and orange blossoms were used on a couple's wedding day. It was believed that the scent of oranges was calming to the couple on their wedding night. They were also thought to be a symbol of fertility.

Basic Orange Sauce

by Jennifer A. Wickes

2 cups orange juice

1 crushed garlic clove

3/4 tsp. mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cornstarch

1 cup water

Bring the orange juice, garlic mustard, salt and ginger to a boil in a saucepan.

Mix the cornstarch with a 1/4 cup of water, then add to the orange juice mixture. Add the rest of the water and bring to a boil. Serve with duck! Yields: 1 serving

Oranges With Sweet Basil Zabaglione

8 lg navel oranges

2 egg yolks

5 basil sprigs

2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup basil leaves - packed

1/4 cup dry white wine

Using a vegetable peeler, remove a strip of zest from one of the oranges and chop enough to measure 1/4 tsp. Using a knife, peel skin and pith from oranges and cut in between the membranes to remove the sections. Using hands, lightly crush the basil sprigs and toss in a large bowl with the orange sections. Cover and chill 2-6 hours. Mince the 1/2 cup basil. In a medium bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar, wine and reserved orange zest. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the zabaglione is frothy, thick, and doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced basil. Drain the orange sections and remove basil sprigs. Divide among 4 dessert dishes and spoon a heaping tablespoon of zabaglione over each one. Yields: 4 servings

Orange French Toast

by Jennifer A. Wickes

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp. Grand Marnier

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

8 1-inch-thick slices of French bread


Unsalted butter

Maple syrup

Powdered sugar

Four cooked sausage links

In a shallow bowl beat together eggs, Grand Marnier, milk, orange peel, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dip bread into egg mixture, coating both sides. (Soak for 30 seconds on each side). In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook the bread on both sides over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve with butter, syrup, powdered sugar and sausage. Yields: 4 servings

Seville Orange Marmalade

by Jennifer A. Wickes

4 lbs. Seville oranges

1 lemon

4 lbs. sugar

10 c. water

Wash fruit, cut into pieces and remove seeds and set aside. Place cut fruit in a blender until half full. Cover with water from measured amount and switch to maximum speed for 30 seconds.

Put all fruit and remaining water into preserving pan, together with seeds tied in a muslin bag.

Bring to a boil and simmer about 1½ hours, until tender. Remove seeds. Add the sugar, stir well until dissolved. Boil rapidly till setting point is reached.

Remove from heat, leave to cool slightly before putting into hot sterilized jars.

This article was originally published at Suite 101.

Copyright 2001 Jennifer Wickes

Related Recipe Features

Lemon Tips and Recipes

Fruit Salad Recipes


About The Author

Jennifer Wickes is the editor at "Cookbook Reviews" and "Cooking With The Seasons", which has been voted to be one of the Top 100 Culinary Sites on the Internet! For more information about Jennifer Wickes or her columns, please go HERE

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