As delicious as orange juice is, the whole fruit is equally appealing. When you think of flavoring a savory dish with citrus fruit, think beyond lemons and limes. How about oranges?
Oranges are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are so good for you, you will want to eat one every day simply for the health benefits. Of course, eating an orange also is pure pleasure.
Everyone knows about the vitamin C in a single orange -- more than 100 percent of an adult's daily requirement. But beyond the vitamin C are other good things such as dietary fiber, thiamine and folic acid.
Vitamin C is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant. Antioxidants are particularly valued because they disarm free radicals and in turn help prevent some cancers.
Antioxidants also prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol (which you don't want) and reduce the severity of some inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Vitamin C also helps keep our immune system in tip-top shape. This is why people say to eat fruits such as oranges to ward off colds.
Citrus fruit in general is especially healthful when it comes to protecting against cardiovascular disease and a number of cancers.
Can you think of any reason not to eat oranges?
Cooking with Oranges
Oranges add bright flavor to sauces, marinades, and vinaigrettes. Their zest is especially flavorful and perks up any number of dishes including vegetables, sweet potatoes, and poultry preparations.
Cut up a few oranges and put them in the cavity of a chicken you are roasting. Add a few onions and garlic cloves and wait for the kitchen to fill with a tantalizing aroma.
Mix fresh-squeezed orange juice with olive oil and salt and pepper for a simple salad dressing that tastes great with cold poultry salads and tossed with bitter greens such as arugula and escarole.
Orange segments and sliced fennel is a classic combination for a lovely and refreshing salad.
Choose heavy oranges with smooth skins. A little brown on the skin is not a bad thing. Avoid fruits with mold or soft spots.
Valencias are the most common juice oranges, while navels, with their thicker skin, are usually eaten out of hand. Both do well for cooking.
Blood oranges are another kind of sweet orange that are in season for a short time in the winter. Their dark red pulp is beautiful to behold, and their sweet, berry-like flavor is a delight. Try them when you see them!
Oranges keep at room temperature for about a week and for up to three weeks when refrigerated.