JEFF TIEDEMAN: Everything is coming up orangesDon’t pass up this tasty citrus fruit in the supermarket.
What’s America’s favorite fruit? That’s a hard question to answer.
Undoubtedly, many people would say the banana. Strawberries also definitely have a huge following (as do other members of the berry family).
And let’s not forget about apples, the quintessential American fruit.
But if you discount the tomato — which many consider a vegetable even though botanically it’s a fruit — it’s an easy choice for me.
I just love oranges. I eat one just about every day — and sometimes two.
And in case you haven’t noticed, it is peak orange season. Most stores are loaded with them.
In the East Grand Forks Hugo’s supermarket where I shop, there are at least four kinds of oranges available — two kinds of navel (Cara Cara and Sequoia), blood and Clementines (those little cuties).
I’ve always been a big fan of navel oranges — probably because they’re seedless — and the Cara Cara is quickly becoming my favorite. It has low acid and is sweet and tangy with a dark pink or reddish flesh.
I have a bunch of them in our refrigerator crisper along with a bag of Clementines, Therese’s favorite. The Clementine is an easy-to-peel mandarin orange that also is sweet and most often seedless. It’s a great snacking orange that usually is sold in 5-pound boxes or 3-pound bags.
Many reasons to like them
There are a lot of good reasons to like oranges. Besides being versatile and affordable, oranges have moderate calories, are an excellent source of vitamin C (one delivers 100 percent of a person’s daily requirements), a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of B vitamins including vitamin B1 and folate as well as vitamin A, calcium and potassium.
Studies also have shown that phytochemical antioxidants found in oranges (as well as soluble and insoluble dietary fiber) have been found to be helpful in reducing in the risk for cancers, many chronic diseases such as arthritis and from obesity and coronary heart diseases.
My favorite way to consume oranges is probably just like most people. I peel it and eat the sections one at a time.
But there are a lot of other ways I make use of oranges. For example, freshly squeezed juice from oranges is a key ingredient in the marinade I use for wild game such as pheasants, ducks, geese, venison and elk.
And most recently, I used orange slices and juice in a baked salmon dish that we had for supper one night. (See recipe at www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Life/tag/food/.)
Oranges also can be a nice addition to dark green salads of spinach, arugula or Romaine that are dressed with tasty vinaigrette.
One thing I’ve found over the years is that not all oranges are created equal. I used to be regularly disappointed by my inability to pick good oranges.
That was until a good friend and former co-worker, the late Carol Graham, taught me how to pick a good orange. She said for the best flavor, look for a firm, heavy orange with a thin, smooth skin.
And she said the only way to compare them is by handling the oranges individually.
I’ve gotten a lot of funny looks while doing this, but as Carol also said, it sure beats eating an orange that doesn’t taste like an orange.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.