Nothing beats a fresh, juicy orange. My wonderful neighbor, Kerry, recently brought me back some fresh Florida oranges. Although we’re just beginning our real growing season up here in Virginia, did you know that we’re closer to the end of Florida’s orange growing season? In fact, peak production is in December!
Why They Are So Good
You probably know that oranges are high in vitamin C. In fact, a reasonably small orange (about 2-1/2 inches in diameter) provides almost 70 mg of it (116% of the RDA)! Other vitamins they contain are thiamin, folate, choline and a bit of vitamin A. Oranges provide some calcium, potassium and other trace minerals, along with over three grams of fiber and almost two grams of protein. All of this for about 60 calories (and about 12-13 grams of sugar).
The Importance of Organic
Oranges are a very high-spray crop. The particular sprays that are used are cholinesterase inhibitors and organophosphates. Both are neurotoxins. Organophosphates in animal feed have been linked to degeneration of the bovine nervous system and brain.
What About OJ?
Although juice doesn’t contain the rind of the orange (which has received most of the pesticide spray), the entire orange is processed to make juice. In fact, in a recent Hawaiian study, pesticide residues becoming concentrated in fruit juice due to modern processing techniques was considered by the researchers to be the reason that fruit and fruit juice consumption was found to be the number one dietary factor in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The lesser problem with orange juice is that when you have it instead of the whole orange, with just one cup (eight ounces) you nearly double the sugar content, and remove all of the fiber. If you buy store-bought juice instead of squeezing it yourself, you are missing all of the natural enzymes and nutrient cofactors oranges contain, as these are destroyed by violent mass processing. Further, store-bought orange juice (even if organic) is pasteurized, which causes it to lose much of it’s nutrition.
Luckily, fresh-squeezed OJ is easy to make at home, even without a juicer. A hand reamer or small manual juicer both work very well. (Or check out this inexpensive juicer I just found!) Leaving in the pulp will add back in a bit of the fiber content. Just be sure to use organic oranges!
Controlling Blood Sugar Crashes
Because of the relatively high sugar content of orange juice, it can spike your blood sugar, and then send it crashing. Not a good way to start the day! I recently read a great tip to lower the glycemic index of your glass of OJ and transform it into a truly nutritious and filling treat. Add in a few tablespoons of heavy cream (preferably raw)! It really is like having a creamsicle in a glass. Mmmmmm.
More Great Uses for Oranges
Here are some ways we enjoy oranges.
Borrowing the idea from this Frugal Granola post, we’ve been enjoying Orange Smoothies lately. And they couldn’t be easier. Just peel a chilled organic orange, throw the segments into a blender, add in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of whole milk yogurt (raw, if possible), honey to taste and a dash of vanilla, and blend away. Add in a few ice cubes if you desire. Delicious!
Salmon with Orange Honey Glaze
I love this recipe from Divine Health, and not just because I love anything served with cauli-rice (which I do ). I make my cauli-rice a bit different, pan-sauteing it with lots of butter and a bit of salt. This meal is easy, quick, fresh, delicious and healthy. What more could you want?
Of course, oranges are delicious just as God intended. I use a large chef’s knife to cut oranges into eight wedges. These are perfect to pack for school or game-time snacks. They can be peeled or eaten right off of the rind easily for most varieties, especially navels.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy oranges?
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