Ingredient of the Week: The Orange

The orange is a member of the citrus family, a hybrid that was deliberately created back in ancient times. The orange tree has been part of human history for millennia and today it’s the most widely grown tree. A pretty impressive history, for which the explanation lies in the nutritional content of the fruit.

Nutritional Facts

Oranges are packed with vitamins, mainly vitamin C: 100 grams of orange contain 64% of the amount we need daily. Aside from vitamins, including A, B-complex, and E, oranges are a source of simple carbohydrates — sugars and fiber — and even some protein, one of the basic elements of a healthy diet, for which fruit in general are not the best known source. Calories per 100 g come in at 47, but they all come from the “good” carbs and the protein, so oranges are a very diet-friendly fruit. For a complete overview of all the health benefits of this great fruit, click here.

Popular Dishes

Like all citrus fruit, oranges contain citric acid, which makes them a valuable ingredient in meat marinades. They are also widely used in fruit salads and desserts.

Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Honey Orange BBQ Chicken
Orange Marinade
Orange Cheesecake
Orange Cream Pop Cupcakes
Orange Chocolate Tart

Serving, Preps & Cooking Tips

Oranges and other citrus fruit are usually consumed fresh, to get the full pack of goodies they contain. Yet there are also recipes that require the orange or the orange juice to be boiled, mixed with other ingredients. If you are using the zest (particularly wonderful with any recipe that has chocolate in it), wash the orange thoroughly before grating it.

Shopping & Storage

Since oranges are the most popular tree in horticulture, it would hardly come as a surprise that in most places the fruit is available all year round because it can be stored industrially for months. Home storage is done either at room temperature, in which case oranges tend to last between two and three weeks, and in the fridge, in which case they would last between one and two months.

Little (un)Known Facts

One interesting fact about oranges is that they can only rot after they are picked. If they’re left on the tree, they will just dry and shrink. Before that, however, they will go from orange to green again, a phenomenon called re-greening that has no effect on their inside color or the taste. Orange peels can be used as air freshener, and if you have a garden threatened by slug infestation, throw some orange peels among the plants to repel them.

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