Florida Produce: Oranges
This week I’m taking a look at Florida oranges. Everyone knows Florida for our oranges so it only seemed natural to talk about them. Who knows, you may discover something you didn’t know!
Florida grows a variety of oranges, but the most popular are Navel, Hamlin, Pineapple, Ambersweet and Valencia. The Florida orange growing season runs from September into June, making it almost a year-round fruit. The peak season for Florida oranges is in December. Most citrus production is the southern two-thirds of the peninsula.
How to buy
Oranges are picked fully ripe, so the color of the orange skin does not necessarily indicate its quality. Choose a fruit that is firm and heavy for its size. The skin should be fairly smooth and it may have slight greening or a rough brown patch, which will not affect the quality of the orange.
Tips for storage
Florida oranges will last much longer under refrigeration; temperatures from 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit are best. Plastic bags or film-wrapped trays should not be used when storing citrus. Citrus needs to breathe, so there is no need to store them in an airtight container. When stored properly, citrus can last four to five days.
Cooking & Tips
If you are juicing oranges, both heat and pressure will help release the juice, so roll the orange on a hard surface. To make the peel come off easily, place the oranges in boiling water for thirty seconds, remove from heat, and allow to cool before peeling. When removing the zest from an orange, care should be taken not to remove the white pith along with it. Orange zest provides an aromatic citrus flavor that can be used to enhance the flavor of many sweet and savory foods and beverages.
Since I don’t have a recipe this week, here are some flavors that pair well with oranges, give them a try:
Basil, brandy, chipotle peppers, chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, mangoes, olives, pecans, strawberries, vanilla