Wednesday, March 6, 2019

5 Exotic Citrus Recipes You’ve Never Heard Of

Have you ever dreamed of traveling the globe? Want to visit South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa? Would you enjoy getting a warm welcome in every country of the world? Then we have some advice for you.

Try becoming an orange.

Yes, it’s true—oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and other citrus are shipped around all around planet Earth, and beloved absolutely everywhere. What’s more, they have a long and fascinating culinary history across cuisines.

While the first citrus trees are thought to have originated in China, bitter oranges spread to Italy and Spain way back in the 10th century. The sweet orange became popular in the 16th century, around the time when citrus was introduced to the new world. Soon citrus was being planted on trade routes around the globe.

This ensured a worldwide spread of these delicious fruits. Cultures around the world have been making citrus a part of their native cuisine for centuries!

While you’ve probably heard of some such dishes, like duck with orange sauce, today we wanted to dig a little deeper. Read on for some authentic citrus recipes from around the world that we think you may not know about.

Guyanese Pepperpot

Though located in South America, the country of Guyana is often considered culturally Caribbean. Pepperpot, a traditional Guyanese meat stew in spiced gravy, typically contains a significant amount of orange peel. It is interesting to me that pepperpot is traditionally eaten on Christmas, since citrus-flavored food is associated with that holiday in other countries as well. Here is a recipe for this intriguing dish.

Moroccan Orange and Cinnamon Dessert Salad

The North African country of Morocco grows a lot of oranges (said to be some of the best in the region) and its cuisine features many orange dishes. The combination of oranges, cinnamon, and orange blossom water is a traditional dessert in this cuisine. By the way, in Morocco, orange flower water is a symbol of good luck.

Costa Rican Orange Pudding

This simple thick orange pudding seems like an obvious idea, but I’ve never been served anything like it in this country—have you? It is traditional in the small Central American nation of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a grower of oranges, and the county also enjoys orange flavors in pound cakes and raisin cakes. 

Persian Jeweled Rice (Jahaver Polow)

This stunningly beautiful and fragrant rice dish from the Middle Eastern country of Iran is known as “jeweled” rice. It’s often served at weddings, parties, and other festive events. Jahaver Polow features many nuts and fruits, including an abundance of candied orange peel (a central flavor in the dish). It would make a gorgeous addition to a holiday table. 

Tangerine Beef

When you think of citrus flavors and Chinese food, you may think of orange chicken, a sweet, deep-fried dish that can be a bit of a guilty pleasure for many of us. However, that dish is pretty Americanized and is not likely be found in mainland China. But this is not to say that citrus isn’t used in authentic Chinese cooking. One common recipe is Tangerine Beef, which used dried tangerine peel and features some of the same sweet and aromatic flavors as orange chicken. Here’s a recipe that American kitchens should be able to prepare.

If there’s one thing we know at Florida Fruit Shippers, it’s that you will never run out of new, fascinating, and delicious recipes to prepare with Florida citrus. Centuries of inventive cooks who came before us have ensured it! Of course, you can also just enjoy our fresh, juicy citrus straight out of the box. It’s honey tangerine season right now, and the fruit couldn’t be sweeter. Why not order a box today? Or, for a limited time, enjoy free shipping on our Spring Trio--Temple oranges, honey tangerines, and sweet ruby-red Grapefruit.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Soothe Your Cold with Fresh Florida Citrus

I have two children in school. If you’re a parent, you know one thing that means: they’re constantly coming home with colds and other viruses.

While I love how my kids have enriched my world, this is not my favorite thing that they have “brought” to my life!

Like most of us, I sometimes turn to home remedies to try to soothe my cold symptoms and feel a bit better. And of course, I like to incorporate fresh, delicious Florida citrus when I do.

But does the vitamin C in citrus actually help prevent, cure, or shorten the common cold?

Well, this is a controversial question. Research has found that high doses of vitamin C may prevent colds in people with very strenuous and active lifestyles (marathoners, for instance).

It can also be helpful for people at higher risk of vitamin C deficiency. For instance, older adults and smokers fall into this category.

However, for more “average” people, it seems that increasing vitamin C probably doesn’t actually prevent colds.

But there is some good news. Increasing our vitamin C intake over the long term (like by eating delicious fresh oranges daily!) may slightly shorten the duration of the colds we get.

How much? about a day.

While this isn’t a huge difference, I personally will take it! Sounds like a good reason to increase citrus intake during winter!

Well, but what if you’re in the middle of a miserable cold and want some relief? Should you still try some citrus-based home remedies?

I think so! Most of them also involve heat (which helps soothe your throat and open things up), honey (which has antibiotic and antiviral properties), ginger (also antiviral) or other helpful ingredients. Sounds good, right?

Plus, they’re delicious and have stood the test of time. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go with it.

So, here are a few citrus-based cold and flu remedies and treats to try the next time you’re under the weather. They may just help—and they certainly won’t hurt.

Honey Citrus Syrup

This is a simple process of slicing oranges, tangerines, clementines or other citrus, heating honey, and mixing the two together with spices or herbs. The mixture is then kept refrigerated and can be used in teas or as a natural cough syrup.

Immune Booster

Nothing fancy here—just a fresh vitamin C blast. This drink is made from pureed grapefruit, oranges, and kiwis, another fruit that is very high in C. This one is even better for you than juice, because the whole fruit is included and all the fiber is still in the drink.

Cold Remedy Tea

Have you heard about the healing powers of turmeric? I was familiar with this spice through its use in Indian cooking, but it has recently gained popularity in healing circles due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. I’ve tried turmeric when suffering from a cold and felt it helped. I definitely enjoyed it most mixed with orange juice, ginger, and honey, as in this hot tea!

Fire Cider

Are you the type of person who believes that when it comes to curing a cold, the remedy needs to feel a bit…extreme? Check out this Fire Cider, made from horseradish, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, herbs, vinegar, and yes, fresh oranges and lemons. If it doesn’t cure you, it might at least keep other people from accidentally kissing you and getting sick!

Send Some Sunshine

Is someone you love feeling a bit under the weather? (Maybe that person is you!) Why not send them a beautiful fresh box, crate, or basket of fresh Florida oranges, tangerines, or grapefruit? Picked at the peak of ripeness and bursting with sunshiny vitamin C, this gift is bound to perk your sniffly friend or loved one up. Be a hero.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Why Florida Citrus and Florida Seafood Are Perfect Together

Here in the beautiful sunshine state, we’re known for a few different things. Of course, vacations and are definitely one. Bright, abundant, warm sunshine is another.

Two more? Sweet, juicy, bright citrus, and fresh, delectable seafood.

The great news is that all of these things go together exceptionally well! But if you can’t make it down here for the vacation and sunshine, you can still enjoy the flavors of our citrus and seafood—no matter where you live and or what the temperature is outside.

Why it Works

Chefs and home cooks have been combining the bright acidity of citrus with seafood dishes for thousands of years. The time-honored combination is actually based on some hard science, as well as tradition.

Seafood contains amines, which are neutralized by the acidity of citrus. This can make the characteristic “fishy” taste a bit milder. However, the acidity of citrus also brings up the delicate flavor of seafood without overpowering it.

Florida’s talented professional and home chefs have come up with some absolutely spectacular dishes that showcase this classic combo. A great time to sample these dishes? Winter!

Winter’s the Time

If you didn’t already know it, citrus is at its peak in the heart of Northern winter. We don’t mean to gloat, we promise—but it’s just another thing that’s great about Florida.

There’s also plenty of Florida seafood to be had in winter. White shrimp, Key West Pink Shrimp, spiny lobster, and stone crabs are all in peak season during the fall and winter months, along with plenty of Florida finfish like amberjack, mullet, flounder, pompano, and grouper.

Of course, you’re not required to limit yourself to Florida-caught seafood when enjoying the combination of citrus and seafood (though we do happen to think that this is the perfect pair). Keeping your dish local like this also supports our economy, helping the American seafood and agriculture industries thrive.

Check out a few of these delicious dishes today!

Florida Grouper with Citrus Salad
This is a simple seared grouper filet served on a bed of fresh Florida oranges, grapefruit, fennel, and jicama. We can guarantee that it will taste fresh, luscious, and refreshing.

Herb and Butter Roasted Florida Spiny Lobster with Citrus and Olives
Never tried spiny lobster (also called rock lobster)? Like Maine lobster, the meat is sweet and succulent and should be purchased either live or frozen. Unlike Maine lobster, you don’t eat the claws—just the tail. Try this Florida delicacy today.

Orange Garlic Shrimp
Citrus and shrimp are a really classic combination, and for good reason. This Asian-themed orange garlic shrimp stir-fry is perfect for a fresh and healthy dinner.

Steamed Stone Crab Claws with Creamy Orange-Chile Sauce
Stone crabs are another special Florida treat that you really need to try at least once in your life. The meat, which comes only from the claws, is extremely delicate and sweet. This very simple recipe simply consists of steamed claw meat dipped in an orange-chile sauce.

Can’t get to Florida this winter? We’re sorry to hear it. But you can still get some of the feel of our beautiful winters by ordering a box or basket of our bright, cheerful, fresh, and healthy citrus. Try our oranges, grapefruit, or honeybells today.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Top 8 Reasons to Buy Honeybells

There are certain things in life that are worth waiting for. Florida Honeybells, with their short but very delicious season, are definitely one of those things.

Never had a Honeybell? These unique citrus fruit are more than a little different from the typical oranges and tangerines most of us are familiar with.

What is a Honeybell?

To start with, these aren’t oranges at all. The Honeybell is actually a tangelo—a word that combines “tangerine” and “pommelo.”

What’s a pommelo, you ask? The pommelo was basically the original grapefruit. The grapefruit variety used to create the Honeybell was the White Duncan. This fruit has gone out of favor for being seedy, but was well known for its incredible favor.

What Honeybells Look Like

When the Duncan was crossed with a tangerine by a savvy citrus grower, the result was the Honeybell—a distinctive, bright orange, super sweet and juicy fruit with an unusual “bell” at one end. This fruit hit the market in the 1930s, and it’s been popular, yet rather hard to come by, ever since.

Why They’re So Hard to Find

You see, Honeybells have a very short season, and they’re generally only grown in a small area of Florida. Supply is small, and they often can’t be found in stores because they get bought up by special companies like ours. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. (Recently, a few California growers have also started growing Honeybells. We know we’re biased, but we don’t feel the CA climate is the best for this variety; read reviews yourself and draw your own conclusions.)

That’s the background of this delicious fruit—a favorite of gourmets, Florida natives, citrus growers, and people who just love good fruit for many years. Not yet convinced that you ought to try these sweet juicy, delectable treats? We’ve got 8 great ones below.

1. They’re beautiful

If you haven’t ever seen a Honeybell in person, you may not realize how gorgeous they are! These are some of our most giftable fruit--not just because of their delicious taste, but due to their appearance. Their color isn’t just orange…it’s a deep, almost fiery red-orange. And since we hand clip each one from the tree to keep the “bell” intact, they’ve been treated with a lot of gentleness. 

2. They’re unusual

If the classic “oranges and grapefruit” basket isn’t exciting you as much anymore, then Honeybells are the way to go. With their unusual appearance and out of this world flavor, there’s really not much typical about them.

3. They’re “classic Florida”

Are you a Floridian who wants to send a taste of the sunshine state to some out-of-staters? Want to rub it in about how beautiful it is here in January, while your friends and relatives are digging their cars out of the snow and cursing? (Just kidding.) Honeybells are the perfect taste of the real Florida.

4. They’re fun to cook with

Just like our other citrus, Honeybells are fun to cook with and make an especially great addition to green salads and fruit salads. Their abundant juice also means they can be used in marinades and dessert recipes. (Check out our Pinterest page for tons of recipes using Honeybells and other Florida citrus.)

5. They make wonderful juice

Most of us probably haven’t tried Honeybell juice, in part because it might seem like a sin to juice these fruits when they’re so delicious to eat out of hand. But if you can stand to give up a few to the juicer, you’ll find that the flavor of Honeybell juice is absolutely outstanding.

6. They’re great for you

Just like all the citrus we sell, Florida Honeybells are incredibly healthy for you, as well as being delicious. Citrus is high in vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium, supporting the immune system and heart and digestive health. People who take medications known to interact with grapefruit will be happy to hear that even though Honeybells are a tangerine-grapefruit cross, they do not contain the substance that causes medication interactions.

7. They’re easy to peel

Honeybells are a “zipper skin” variety of citrus, meaning that the skin comes right off in a jiffy, just as though it had a little zipper you could unzip. Though I don’t mind the occasional bit of work to peel citrus, I have to admit that an easy-peeling fruit is a pleasure.

8. They just might be the most delicious citrus you’ve ever tasted

Ok, this is subjective. Some of us are “grapefruit people” and can’t get enough of the sweet-tart, luscious Ruby Red. Others prefer the classically rounded, deep flavor of a Temple. And many of us love the little-known Page orange (sadly, we’re still bringing our Page groves back to life here after Hurricane Irma). But many citrus lovers do think the Honeybell is the absolute best-tasting citrus there is. Can you deny yourself the chance to try one? We didn’t think so. But remember, the season (in January) is VERY short.

Buy Florida Honeybells

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