Find oranges at their peak during winter months

A sliced orange in front of a whole orange
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While oranges are a citrus fruit that can be found all year long, they peak over the winter months. This is a time where you can usually find more variety of oranges and at a lower cost than in off season months.

Navel oranges are the most popular, likely due to their sweetness and their being fairly easy to peel. Generally seedless, navel oranges get their name from what looks to be a bellybutton at the blossoming end where it tries to grow a second orange inside. A cara cara looks just like a navel orange on the outside but has a pink flesh on the inside. They’re very sweet and slightly less acidic than a navel orange. Blood oranges carry the pigment anthocyanin, producing a dark red flesh and thus containing a high level of disease-fighting antioxidants. There are different types of blood oranges, such as the moro, which isn’t as sweet but has a light raspberry flavor.

Mandarin oranges include tangerines, satsumas and clementines. Tangerines are smaller and darker than an orange and typically have seeds, but they are sweet tasting. Satsumas originated in Japan, but they damage easily, which is why they aren’t typically found fresh in stores, rather are what is used to make canned mandarin oranges. Clementines are the smallest type of mandarin; they’re easy to peel, though not as easy to peel as a satsuma.

Oranges are known for their high vitamin C content, but that’s not the only thing that makes them healthy. They’re a good source of fiber, and they provide calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. Oranges will keep at room temperature for about a week. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks. Enjoy the taste of an orange this winter!

 

Salted Chocolate Clementines

8 clementines

½ cup dark chocolate chips

A few pinches coarse salt (such as Fleur de Sel)

Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Peel and segment clementines; set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds; stir and microwave in 10-second increments until melted. Dip clementine so that chocolate covers half of each segment. Immediately sprinkle each segment with a tiny pinch of salt before chocolate sets. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens and serve. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Yield: 16 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 50 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 65 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond. 

 

This blog post first appeared in the Pantagraph on December 1, 2021.