THE FOOD SERIES: Oranges

In the summer months, I would start my mornings with melons… however when melons are harder to get a hold of, I turn to oranges to begin and hydrate my mornings. My mouth is already salivating from looking at the photo, anyone else?

DESCRIPTION:

One of the most popular and well known fruits around the world. These nearly round, citrus fruits with its juicy pulpy flesh are classified into two categories: sweet and bitter. The sweet orange variety includes Valencia, Navel, and Blood Oranges. The bitter orange variety, although less popular are often used to make jam or marmalade, or as flavourings in liqueurs.

Valencia is a late-season fruit and is the go-to variety when Navel oranges are out of season. They are primarily grown for orange juice production. Each fruit varies from 0 to 9 seeds. In the Northern hemisphere, it is known as the summer orange. It is also named after the city of Valencia in Spain.

Navel oranges is characterized by the growth of a second fruit opposite its stem, which resembles a human navel, hence the name. Navel oranges are popular for production and consumption because of its fairly easy to peel skin and seedless properties. However, they are less juicy and slightly more bitter compared to some other popular sweet varieties, therefore is not a favourite for juicing. In the Northern hemisphere, it is known as the winter orange.

Blood oranges, with its distinct dark red hue and flavour, is very popular for juicing.  This variety is a hybrid species and is smaller than the other varieties. They are for the most part slightly more bitter but less acidic than other sweet oranges. If you have ever tried a blood orange, you understand the distinct taste.

These are just 3 of over 600 varieties of oranges worldwide… how many varieties have you tried?

PRODUCTION:

Originally from Asia, specifically from southern China to Indonesia and spreading to India, they are now being produced in many areas with moderate temperatures around the world. The top three countries of orange production are Brazil, United States and China. Other top countries include India, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and South Africa. Oranges requires both sufficient sunshine and water, variation between summer and winter temperatures, as well as a between night and day in order to reach full development.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:

One large orange:

86.5 kcal
21.6 g carbs
4.3 g fiber
0.2 g fat
1.7 g protein
97.7 mg Vitamin C
414.0 IU Vitamin A
55.2 ug folate

When people think vitamin C, they immediately think citrus fruits like oranges. Although oranges is not the number one source, it has been engrained and marketed to us that it is the top way to get in your vitamin C. Yes, oranges are definitely a good source for vitamin C, but remember to be wary of the source. Alright so vitamin C, an excellent antioxidant, helping us tackle all free radicals we are faced with. Vitamin C is required to produce collagen which is crucial for the structure and framework of our skin and bones. Hence, why vitamin C deficiency may lead to scurvy. Vitamin C is also needed to make neurotransmitters that help carries signals in our brains and our overall nervous system.

Beyond vitamin C, oranges contain a variety of phytonutrients such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and other volatile organic compounds. These are especially important for antioxidant protection and immune support, protect against cardiovascular disease, and overall ability to promote optimal health. So yes, that daily glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning is very beneficial for your health!

WAYS TO ENJOY

Eating them fresh and raw is my favourite way of consuming oranges. Beyond consuming them raw, you can make orange flavoured cookies, or use the orange zest as garnish or additional flavouring; such as in a soups, chills, stir-fry, etc.

In smoothies

Mmmm pineapple orange smoothie… another favourite is apple, orange, lemon with some greens. So good, so refreshing.

In juices

Straight up OJ, with the pulp of course. So either just blend up oranges, or use a juicer. Have some fun with it and add some other fruit, other greens or just playing with the flavouring as well such as adding in ginger or turmeric.

In salads

Other than adding them whole into your salads, you can use the juice in a dressing, such as a orange ginger sesame dressing or a fully raw pineapple and orange dressing. Yum!

FUN FACTS

  • Oranges contain more fiber than most fruits and vegetables.
  • Oranges and orange blossoms are a symbol of love.
  • More orange trees are killed by lighting than plant diseases.
  • There are over 35,000,000 orange trees in Spain.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES / REFERENCES 

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