Crops in Season
What’s in season now is certainly variable, location being a major influence in this area. Chances are, if you’re from a cold weather state and enjoying the Florida sunshine, expectations are a bit different than if you are from around these parts. Nonetheless, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), oranges are not a variable here. They are one of the most popular fruits- folks from around the globe know about Florida. For instance, did you know that the orange is the official Florida fruit? It’s no surprise that orange juice is the official Florida state beverage and the orange blossom is Florida’s state flower.
Oranges, a member of the citrus family along with other seasonal favorites like grapefruit and tangerine, are considered a nutrient dense food. Oranges provide valuable calories in the form of carbohydrates and fiber plus they are high in vitamin C, the minerals potassium and phosphorus, plus other nutrients. Not only do Florida oranges make for a delicious, refreshing FAST FOOD when eaten right out of the hand, they can be easily peeled and sectioned, zested, or juiced to add flavor and nutrition to many recipes. Oranges flavor well with other seasonal fresh foods, too. According to FDACS they pair nicely with basil, chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, mangoes, olives, pecans, strawberries and vanilla. Florida oranges can even make a beautiful garnish to enhance a beverage or dinner plate.
Expand your use of the Florida orange this October-June growing season by trying these simple tips:
Squeeze your own juice! Use it to:
- Give seasonal vegetables a new taste
- Make a simple marinade for poultry
- Enhance the flavor of a fruit salad or beverage
Zest an orange!
- Zest can be added to many dishes to enhance flavor (rice, vegetables, baked goods, beverages, salads)
- Care should be taken not to remove the white pith along with the peel as this can be bitter.
Peel an orange! Add the segments to:
- Garden fresh salads
- Poultry recipes
When choosing Florida fresh oranges, choose one that is firm and heavy for its size. Refrigerating prolongs the life an orange.
Why eat seasonally? Products are fresher and tastier, and nutritional value is optimized. Not only are oranges plentiful this time of year, but other seasonal produce is bountiful too. Try some fresh local Florida produce today!
Orange and Tupelo Honey Bliss
(a delicious salad dressing, marinade or dipping sauce)
1 Teaspoon fresh grated orange *zest
Juice of one fresh Florida orange
1/4 cup Tupelo honey
1/4 cup plain vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Personalize this recipe by adding dried or fresh herbs, garlic, peppers or other Florida fresh citrus zest* and juice.
*Zest, also known as citrus peel, is a food ingredient that is prepared by scraping or cutting from the outer, colorful skin of or citrus fruit.