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Juicy and sweet, and renowned for its concentration of vitamin C, orange is a wonderful snack and a great ingredient, which contributes a special tang to any recipe it is added to. One of the most popular fruits in the world, different variants of oranges are available from winter through summer.
Oranges are round citrus fruits with finely-textured skins that are, of course, orange in colour 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. The skin might wrap the fruit loosely or tightly, colloquially known as loose-jacket and tight-skinned varieties. The loose-skinned orange is very popular in India.
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 into small pieces, approximately ¼-inch in diameter. Remember to chop gently without applying much pressure.
Cut off the top and bottom of the 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 carefully remove the orange segments. Orange segments add a delightful and refreshing taste to salads. It is ideal to garnish cakes, custards and desserts. They may also be relished just plain, as a snack.
How to Select
• Choose oranges that are unblemished and heavy for their size.
• Avoid those with cuts, soft spots or mould.
• Bright colour is not necessarily an indication of quality as some poor quality ones may be dyed, while some good oranges might naturally be green-tinged even when ripe. So, simply look for bright, unblemished skin unmindful of the colour.
• You should avoid light-weight oranges, which probably lack much of their flesh content and juice.
• A spongy texture usually indicates aging and poor quality.
• Also avoid any oranges that look decayed or discoloured near the stem.
• Orange segments can be had just plain, as a snack, or added to fruit salads.
• Orange jam and marmalades are great on breads and best for glazing cakes and puddings.
• Use oranges as a colourful, sweet accent in green salads for a touch of class.
• They can also be used as a topping for desserts and ice-cream.
• Orange tastes heavenly when combined with chocolate. Orange segments can be dipped in chocolate sauce and frozen, to make a mouth-watering dessert.
• Orange segments, slices or chunks are sometimes even added to savoury salads.
How to Store
• Oranges that are not yet fully ripe should be stored in an open tray in a cool, dry place.
• Once the fruits are ripe, they can be stored in the fridge to enhance their shelf life.
It is better to store oranges loose, rather than wrapped in plastic bags because they may sweat and develop mould.
• Orange is a rich source of Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Copper, Sulphur and Chlorine.
• It contains beta carotene and vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant guarding our cells.
• Vitamin C also helps to absorb calcium, which is important for the health of bones and teeth.
• Our brain needs folic acid for proper development, and this is found in oranges!
• Blood pressure can be kept in balance with the magnesium found in oranges.
• The potassium present in oranges helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and to maintain the electrolyte balance of cells.
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