Also Known as
Juicy and sweet and renowned for its concentration of vitamin C, oranges make the perfect snack and add a special tang to many recipes; it is no wonder that they are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Oranges are generally available from winter through summer with seasonal variations depending on the variety.
Oranges are round citrus fruits with finely-textured skins that are, of course, orange in color just like their pulpy flesh; the skin can vary in thickness from very thin to very thick. Oranges usually range from approximately two to three inches in diameter.
Orange is one of the finest gifts of the nature. It is the most popular wide-spread of the citrus fruits. It is very delicious and nourishing fruit. Oranges are oval to sphere-shaped fruits with leathery, porous skin. Their color ranges from orange to red-orange. There are many varieties of Oranges. The more important ones are the loose-skinned orange, tight-skinned orange and sour orange. The loose-skinned orange is very popular in India.
Sliced orange (with and without skin):
Use good quality firm oranges. Ensure that the skin is without any blemishes. Peel if required. Cut the orange into half vertically and cut each half lengthwise to get slices. Deseed and use as required. Unpeeled and sliced orange is used for garnishing cakes, pastries, etc. Peeled and sliced orange is used in layered cakes and pastries, fruit salads, fruit mousses and cheese cakes etc.
Peel the orange gently. Cut off both ends off the orange and place it upright. Now slice around the sides to remove the peel. Cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and remove the seeds from centre. Chop by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter. Remember to chop gently without applying much pressure.
How to Select
To obtain orange segments - Cut off the top and bottom of an orange. Set the orange on a cutting board flat side down, and cut off the skin and all of the white pith in curvy strips. You'll have to cut off a little of the juicy part too to make sure no white pith remains.
Continue working your way around the orange until no skin remains. Hold the orange in the palm of one hand and the knife in the other hand. Choose a section that you are going to free. Loosen the section and remove carefully orange segments. Orange segments add a delightful and refreshing taste to salads. It is best to garnish on cakes, custards, desserts or simply relish them.
Choose Oranges that are unblemished and heavy for their size. Avoid those with cuts, soft spots, or mold. Bright color is not necessarily an indication of quality as some are dyed and some naturally have green patches even when fully ripe. The best oranges to purchase should have heavy feel with fresh, bright-looking skin. You should avoid light-weight oranges, which probably lack much of their flesh content and juices. A spongy texture usually indicates aging and deteriorated eating quality. Also avoid any decay, soft spots or weakened area areas around the stem end.Culinary Uses
· Orange fruit jam and marmalades are great on breads and best for glazing cakes, puddings.
· Use oranges as a colorful, sweet accent in green salads for a touch of class.
· They are especially good in desserts.
· Use as a decoration, a topping on ice cream.
· Orange and chocolate is bliss for some, desecration for others - tread carefully Orange segments can be dipped in chocolate sauce and freeze. This is a mouth watering sweet and sour combination.
· Oranges can be eaten by themselves or added to fruit salads.
· When eating as a snack, oranges can be peeled and eaten or cut into quarters and eaten with the peel on.
· Their natural sweetness (in theory, at any rate) pushes them towards the realm of the pudding
· Orange segments, slices or chunks are often welcome in savoury salads.
· Try mixing with watercress, chicory and toasted walnuts, or alternating slices of orange and tomato, scattered with black olives or paper-thin slices of shallot or red onion, or mix with cooked beetroot, watercress and toasted pine nuts. Dress with lemon (or white wine vinegar) and olive oil.
· One of winter puddings is that old favourite, caramelized oranges, which shows off sweet oranges at their purest.How to Store
They may be stored in a cool, dark spot for a few days, but ideally should be refrigerated to extend shelf life up to two weeks. Oranges can either be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending upon your preference. They will generally last the same amount of time, two weeks with either method, and will retain nearly the same level of their vitamin content. The best way to store oranges is loose rather than wrapped in a plastic bag since if exposed to moisture, they can easily develop mold.
Orange juice and zest can also be stored for later use. Place freshly squeezed orange juice in ice cube trays until frozen, and then store them in plastic bags in the freezer. Dried orange zest should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container. Health Benefits
· Orange is a rich source of Vitamin A, C, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Copper, Sulphur and Chlorine.
· Orange contains Beta carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant guarding the health of our cells.
· Orange contains Calcium, which a school going knows how important is in healthy bones and teeth's.
· Our brain needs folic acid for proper development which is found in Oranges.
· Blood pressure can be kept in balance with magnesium found in Oranges.
· To maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and to maintain electrolyte balance of cells, one can eat oranges for potassium it provides.
· The food we take is converted into energy by thiamin found in orange.
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