Orange recipe of the month

Winter citrus shines in this holiday salad recipe! Adding the additional avocado, pomegranate, and pumpkin seeds make a combination of healthy nutrients and phytonutrients that cannot be beat. It is not only nutritious and delicious but beautiful. In addition, 6 of these or other oranges cut into segments, called suprêmes, make a traditional Southern ambrosia to serve 4, combined with just 1/2 cup shredded coconut and sugar to taste.

Citrus Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate, and Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 Cara Cara oranges

3 blood oranges, plus the juice of one more blood orange or two if very small

6 cups mixed baby greens or just arugula

2 avocados cut into thin slices

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

6 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese crumbled

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup blood orange juice

6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon raw, local honey

1 teaspoon blood orange zest

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Using a microplane, grate 1 teaspoon of blood orange zest.
  2. To peel the oranges, use a sharp knife to cut a thin slice off both ends of the fruit where the pulp is visible. Stand the fruit upright on one of the ends. Follow the curve of the fruit to cut downward to remove the peel and white pith. Rotate the fruit and cut until all of the peel and pith is cut away. Reserve peel for another use.
  3. Thinly slice oranges crosswise to make circles.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the blood orange juice with the olive oil, honey, zest, salt, and pepper.
  5. Layer starting with lettuce, oranges, avocados, cheese, onion, pomegranate and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and then drizzle with dressing or arrange or individual plates in the same order.

Adapted from marthastewart.com

pastedGraphic.png

In Season

Oranges - December

Sweet oranges have been cultivated for thousands of years. Originally from China, the sweet orange traveled the trade routes to the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Americas. In 16th century Europe, special greenhouses or orangeries were status symbols. Oranges come into season in the United Sates during winter months and some are still harvested through spring. Traditional oranges like navel and Valencia have orange pulp like the peel. Blood oranges have pulp that range in color from pink to deep ruby red and are very sweet. The Cara Cara orange, a variety originally from Venezuela, has a deep orange peel and pink pulp that is also very sweet.

Average Price: $1.40 per pound

Peak Time: January – May

Tips for Selection and Storage: Choose oranges that are firm and heavy for their size, free of molds or bruises. Skin color varies from greenish to orange to pink to red. Oranges may be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for up to two weeks.  The best way to store oranges is loose rather than a plastic bag since if exposed to moisture, they can easily develop mold.

Tips for Preparation: In addition to eating out of hand, oranges add beautiful color to winter salads. They combine well with other fruits, or onions, chilies, spices and herbs, and vinaigrette. They may be used to flavor poultry, seafood, desserts, or sauces. Orange zest is an important garnishing or flavoring agent. When using the peel, wash well and dry before using. When zesting, make sure not to remove too much of the white pith underneath the peel since it is bitter.

Nutritional Highlights: All oranges are excellent sources of vitamin C, vitamin A from carotenoids, folic acid, thiamin, pantothenic acid, potassium, copper, calcium, dietary fiber, and many types of phytochemicals especially flavonoids. Combined with vitamin C, this makes the antioxidant properties of oranges more powerful from the juice. In the peel, other phytonutrients are strong anti-inflammatories and help lower blood cholesterol, as well as fight against various cancers. Research has shown that consuming vitamin C supplements do not provide the same protective benefits from inflammatory diseases like heart disease, stroke and cancer as whole citrus like oranges.