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A Tribute to Oranges!

Updated on April 5, 2014

Oranges - What a Cool Fruit

Possibly mankind's favorite fruit?

There's a reason oranges are popular... Not only is this fruit sweet and delicious and juicy - cool and refreshing in hot weather - but it's also incredibly healthy. It's popular to eat and a real Blockbuster Fruit as a juice!

Oranges are good for you. At breakfast, orange juice's natural sugars give a bit of a morning boost, while fueling us with Vitamin C, as well as Folate, and Potassium. Eaten whole, as fruit or blended as in a smoothy, it's a good source of dietary fiber too. The orange, in many forms, is also surprisingly useful in cooking. It even has household uses!

And it doesn't hurt that even the pickiest eaters usually like the taste.

This Lens is a work in progress - more recipes to come as I find them.

(The image is from a vintage poster for a California orange exhibition, now public domain, found on Exploring America For more on Creative Commons Licensing like this: Creative Commons Licensing)

The Orange Show

The Orange Show
The Orange Show
A box of oranges (or a jokey vintage post card of one!) - public domain courtesy of  the University of Houston Libraries
A box of oranges (or a jokey vintage post card of one!) - public domain courtesy of the University of Houston Libraries

Oranges!

Sunshine in a Box - what a great idea.

Sure you can buy oranges at your local grocery... but how about sending them to family back in Snow Country?

Snack Box of Florida Oranges by Organic Mountain
Snack Box of Florida Oranges by Organic Mountain

Imagine the sunny-happiness of a crate of sunshine arriving on your doorstep!

 

Nutrition and The Orange

A botanical illustration by A. Risso and A. Poiteau, public domain image from Wikimedia
A botanical illustration by A. Risso and A. Poiteau, public domain image from Wikimedia

Sunkist: Types of Oranges

Alas, no food - not even The Orange! - is completely perfect.

The good news about oranges are that they are very good sources of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C, good sources of Folate, Vitamin A, and Potassium, and are very low in Sodium, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol.

(Actually I'm wondering where those last two items appear at all... Did a pudgy grasshopper fall into the scientist's measuring equipment?)

The good/bad news is that oranges contain a large dose of natural sugars. This is good for producing energy and these types of natural sugars seem to be easier on the human system than, say, corn syrup, but it does mean the calories can add up. So, as with most fruit, diabetics and people on restricted calorie diets may need to be cautious.

Here are the numbers for a single (1.31 gram) orange, as a percentage of the average daily requirement:

Vitamin C 116%

Fiber 12.5%

Folate 9.8%

Vitamin B1 7.3%

Potassium 6.7%

Vitamin A 5.8%

Calcium 5.2%

Calories 61, 3%

Illustration of an orange 1887, public domain from Wikimedia
Illustration of an orange 1887, public domain from Wikimedia

Well... possibly just a note.

Cook Time

Prep Time: seconds

Total Time: 1-3 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 nice juicy orange
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Water (optional)

Instructions

  1. There are three methods:
  2. Cut your orange in half and Squeeze that Orange! Either by hand or with a juicer. You can dilute with water (or ice) or add sugar to taste.
  3. Peel your orange and put the whole fruit into a juicer/blender to create a super-nutrient, pulpy smoothy. Grate into this a little of the orange skin (the zest) for extra goodness.
  4. Either of these methods can be done with multiple oranges, putting the juice into a glass pitcher to serve a crowd. You can than add if you wish: sugar (if the oranges are too tart) or lemon juice (if too sweet) or a few mint leaves or sparkling water for gentle fizz - or even, gasp, alcoholic adult-type stuff. (Champagne is classic.)
  5. Or here are the FUN KID variations:
  6. Take your whole orange and firmly roll and press it with your hand until all its innards are mushed - without breaking its skin - then insert a straw. Nature's juice box! The old Girl Scout variation on this was to use a peppermint stick candy as the straw, for a tasty desert-drink.
Cast your vote for O. J.

The Designer Juicer

The builder of The Orange Show dreamed of the perfect orange juicer... I doubt he ever expected one to become News! High Fashion! and a Design Star! (And a star-maker too.)

But this juicer design was a huge HUGE international hit!

The Juicy Salif citrus squeezer made its designer, Philippe Stark, famous. It was a design icon of the 1980s. It's in the Museum of Modern Art's collection, for Pete's sake! Quite a pedigree to have at your breakfast table.

(At 11+ inches tall, it could be a bit splashy to use - use the BIG bowl, eh?)

Hand Juicers

Or you could go less iconic more simple kitchen helper...

Norpro Orange Juicer
Norpro Orange Juicer

Simple, easy to clean, a cheerful orange in color.

 
A di Alessi Mandarin Citrus Squeezer Color: Orange
A di Alessi Mandarin Citrus Squeezer Color: Orange

Alessi! Gotta love these tiny Mandarin orange squeezers. I like jokes in the morning.

 

Health Benefits of Oranges

Orange slices- for licensing info, click the pic
Orange slices- for licensing info, click the pic

Oranges' first claim to health benefits is their big dose of Vitamin C. This is the main water-soluable anti-oxidant in the human body and plays an important role in healthy cell replacement - and thus in fighting cancers, especially colon cancer and those throughout the digestive tract. It's vital in maintaining a healthy immune system too. (Why orange juice is so popular for warding off colds!)

Orange juice is more effective than Vitamin C alone, as in tablets or supplements.

Oranges have phytonutrients which are associated with healing. Recent research suggests that these include citrus flavanones (like hesperetin and naringenin), hydroxycinnamic acids, anthocyanins, and various polyphenols. These - with the power of Vitimin C - give oranges important antioxidant properties. Limonoids - present in all citrus fruits - have been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.

Of these nutrients, it seems to be the orange's flavonone, the herperidin molecule, that is most important in human health. It's been demonstrated to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol in animal studies. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. But most of this nutrient is found in the pulp and peel, so is usually discarded in the juicing process. Also in orange and tangerine peels are polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) which look promising to lower cholesterol with perhaps no side effects.

The fiber in oranges (mostly in the pulp) is good for us too; among other benefits, it helps regulate the digestive system. . And drinking orange, grapefruit or apple juice reduces the likelihood of kidney stones. Help with arthritis, ulcers... Really, when reading the literature, the list seems endless!

Oranges - and other citrus fruits - help sustain all varieties of good health.

World Health Foods

Detailed information on the nutritional importance of oranges - with recipes.

DISCLAIMER: I'm no nutritionist or doctor - so please do not consider this "Advice" on what you should eat. No, no. Make your own decisions! (Especially if you read this in North Carolina.*) Read more before changing your diet. Heck, ask a licensed nutritionist for Advice!

*Where a blogger is being prosecuted for giving nutrition "Advice." Not a licensed nutritionist, you see. (It's just a good thing my advice-dispensing Mom doesn't live in North Carolina - I'm pretty sure she's not a Licensed Mother either.)

Ginger, illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler -  Wikimedia, public domain
Ginger, illustration by Franz Eugen Köhler - Wikimedia, public domain

Orange-Ginger Sauce

An excellent sauce! Full of flavor, fast and easy to make.

For vegetarians: terrific over crisply fried polenta or potato fritters. A great side sauce for homemade egg rolls!

For cheese eaters: excellent with warm goat cheese.

For fish eaters: it is wonderful over salmon. (I'm going to experiment with chicken - sorry, carnivore here.)

The recipe for this easy-easy sauce started with a suggestion at, of all places, the World Health Organization. (I pictured those guys running around in space-suits, fighting Ebola all the time, but in their limited spare time, they swap recipes!) Anyway. Their website suggested the basic recipe, which I then tweaked.

(My bad - not World Heath ORGANIZATION, World Health FOODS... but my mental picture is so funny it stays.)

Wherever this recipe started , it's delicious and super easy.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 15 (low attention - go ahead and cook the main course too)

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbs. butter (or other mild flavored oil - sesame oil would increase the Asian flavor)
  • 2 small pieces candied ginger (or 1 sm. pc. fresh or about 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (fresh-squeezed or store-boughten)
  • 1 tsp. corn starch mixed with a little cold water (optional)
  • 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. All those amounts are variable, depending on personal taste and what you have handy. This is an easy-peasy, no worries sauce. Turn off the heat and let it wait or make it early and reheat before serving.
  2. Saute the thinly sliced onions in the butter or oil until transparent
  3. Add finely chopped ginger and keep stirring.
  4. After the onions start to caramelize, when the pan is getting nicely coated with flavorishness, deglaze with the orange juice.
  5. If a tarter flavor is preferred, add the lemon juice.
  6. Let simmer gently to reduce the liquid.
  7. If you like a thicker sauce (I do) add the corn starch water and raise the heat. Cook, stirring, until desired thickness.
  8. Serve warm.

Tea with Orange

Tea flavored with orange is a classic.

And doesn't it seem like an orange tea kettle will heat up faster? We should race a blue kettle with one of these orange'uns!

Graphic Oranges

Oranges as a pattern, public domain image (from a kinda strange source: Hawaiian dermatologists?)
Oranges as a pattern, public domain image (from a kinda strange source: Hawaiian dermatologists?)

Frankly, I just fell for this design. Isn't it fun and fruity?

Candied Orange Peel

This is a traditional way to preserve orange rind - saturating it in sugar as a natural preservative to create a sort of high-nutrient candy. This is a great way to access the nutrients in that otherwise hard-to-use part of an orange. (Grated zest lately? Messy, huh?)

Excellent in cooking and baking. Full of flavor!

I ordered this candied orange peel - and other peels - from Barry Farm for last Christmas and was very happy with their quality. You may like them too.

Completely unimportant, but as an added bonus, I also fell for their address: "Mudsock Road." Really? That's almost as delicious as their fruit.

Seville Orange Marmalade

A nice easy-to-follow video... with good production values and a rather charming chef.

Orange Marmalade

Sorta like smushy candied orange peel. Full of goodness and good taste!

Rose's Orange Marmalade 16oz Jar
Rose's Orange Marmalade 16oz Jar

Rose's is a classic British brand... very Empire-y somehow.

 

Fennel and Orange Salad

This seems to be becoming a classic of healthy cuisine I haven't tried this version, but another I HAVE tried was quite good.

(Not quite as polished a video or charming a chef though.)

More Recipes for Oranges

One of the nicest, simplest recipes for using oranges I've found is really a presentation idea:

Cut an orange in half and hollow each half out, then fill with orange sherbet (home-made or store-bought) or gelato (or Blue Bell's "Orange Swirl" ice cream!) and refreeze. A delightful presentation of a chilly-refreshing summer treat!

An orange crate label, believed public domain, for more info click
An orange crate label, believed public domain, for more info click

Links to Orange Labels n' More

There is some wonderful commercial art on fruit and orange labels!

Orange Crate Labels

Wonderful vintage graphics.

Vintage fruit labels are classic - and beautiful - examples of graphic art and advertising.

VENICE COVE, TULARE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, DEFIANCE BRAND ROOSTER CHICKEN ORANGE CITRUS FRUIT CRATE BOX LABEL ART PRINT
VENICE COVE, TULARE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, DEFIANCE BRAND ROOSTER CHICKEN ORANGE CITRUS FRUIT CRATE BOX LABEL ART PRINT

Why so many roosters with oranges? Ducks on the other hand I'd understand. (Duck a l'Orange!)

 

Orange Desserts

Orange flavor is terrific in desserts and baked goods. Here's a recipe for a traditional Tuscan Torta Arancia. (This contains eggs.)

(Kinda odd video though - all music, no talk.)

The Decadent Stuff... - Orange and Chocolate

Chocolate is healthy now too (thank goodness) And with oranges? What a terrific combo!

An orange crate label with orange blossums - believed public domain, click for more info
An orange crate label with orange blossums - believed public domain, click for more info

The Scent of Oranges

There's a classic pomander you can make to chase away moths and scent your clothes:

Take a small orange. Cover its rind completely with whole cloves that are stuck through the skin into the orange. Now, tie a ribbon around this for hanging and put it somewhere visible in your closet.

Beautiful clove and orange scented clothes!

Below is a low=effort way to get orange scent into your daily life.

What Gift Shop is Complete without Toys?

Oran'ge Gonna Leave a Comment? - (Sorry couldn't resist the pun. Do YOU know any orange jokes?)

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    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

      The tract home property we have sits on an old LA SoCal orange grove. The groves went all the way up the hills to the Los Angeles Forest. Not an orange tree in site now. The last bit of acreage was built over in 1992.

    • kwj profile image

      kwj 5 years ago

      I'm an orange fan too especially because its the basic ingredient of marmalade which I love

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 5 years ago

      fun lens :)