Saturday, March 26, 2022

Set Up a Daily Routine with the Help of Citrus

You may have heard that a daily routine is important for mental and physical health. During stressful times in particular, it is  important to try to establish as much of a regular routine as possible and stick with it. Experts agree that being able to function in predictable, healthy patterns each day helps you better navigate the more unpredictable, less healthy stressors of life. By incorporating healthy choices as part of your daily routine, these choices will soon become healthy habits, with long-term benefits such as increased vitality, energy, and focus, as well as less anxiety and malaise.

Examples of a Healthy Daily Routine

We already do a few familiar things in a similar pattern each day. For example, a typical weekday may look something like this: we stretch and brush our teeth in the morning, eat breakfast, walk the dog, go to work, have lunch, work some more, come home, eat dinner, walk the dog again, brush teeth, read, and go to bed at night. Now, depending on our choices over time, each of these things can be healthy and sustaining or unhealthy and depleting. Even though our daily routine may help us find a familiar and comfortable pattern to settle into each day, if we choose fried or sugary foods for most of our meals, don't get enough sleep, and don't exercise enough, we may not feel as good as we would with more optimal choices.  

How Can Citrus Help In the Morning?

So what does a healthy daily routine have to do with citrus? Lots! Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, high-quality, fresh citrus is always in our purview, and the health results are palpable.  Let's start with your morning routine: Most people begin their day with a cup of coffee to wake up. But recent research has proven that when you feel lethargic or unable to concentrate well, orange juice will help you sustain alertness and concentration for a longer period of time than coffee.  Starting your day with a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice versus juice from a carton will magnify this effect even more. It's all thanks to those wonderful citrus flavonoids, which along with all of their other health benefits, serve to improve blood flow to the brain.  Pair that juice with a heart-healthy breakfast of oatmeal with some delicious Florida marmalade or honey from one of our gift boxes, take your pup for an energizing walk, and you're all fueled up for a great day.

How Can Citrus Help My Midday Slump?

So your morning orange juice and breakfast combo helped you sail through your work morning, but as lunch approaches, especially after that two-hour board meeting, fatigue and hunger are setting in.  Your co-worker once again brought four dozen donuts to the two-hour meeting, and the chocolate cream one is loudly calling your name.  Your hand extends out to grab it...closer...closer...Stop!  Quick, reach for the delicious, sweet, juicy grapefruit in your bag!  Studies have proven that consuming a grapefruit before the urge to snack on sugary foods or before meals will curb both your cravings and your appetite, thereby keeping you donut- and guilt-free and able to enjoy a healthy lunch.  And, because grapefruits are also loaded with flavonoids, your brain will once again receive a fresh shot of alertness.

How Can Citrus Help Me End My Day?

Your grapefruit before lunch was just the ticket to give you the clarity and energy to deal with the many challenges that came at you in the afternoon, but now that it's 5pm, you feel your energy draining. Suddenly, the thought of a frozen pizza and a random movie before bed is very appealing.  You can exercise tomorrow, right? Wrong!  You spy the bowl of oranges on your counter, and remember your routine: get home, drink a big glass of water, change into some comfy clothes and sneakers, and grab an orange.  You take a brisk walk around your neighborhood, and simply throw the orange from your left hand to your right hand and back again, over and over, as you ambulate. This is called bilateral coordination, and is a phenomenal way to not only exercise your body, but also your mind.  It forces the brain to operate over the corpus callosum, which is responsible for the coordination between the two sides of your brain and body. As we age, we can lose this coordination. Tossing an orange from hand to hand while walking is a highly effective way of keeping the brain and body balanced and functioning at optimal potential. Best of all, when you finish your workout, you can reward yourself with the delicious orange before dinner, which will also serve to curb your appetite and keep your eating moderate.

Citrus can be a powerful ally in your daily routine.  From morning until evening, count on our freshly-picked fruits to sustain you.  You can even save your peels from your daily citrus, soak them in water overnight, and voila: you have an refreshing spritzer for your clothing and rooms. Another idea: chop and bake the rinds in a 200 degree oven until they are fully dried. Mix with dried flower petals for a fresh, comforting sachet for your desk drawers, briefcase, dresser, and suitcase.

So bring on the day, and use citrus to keep you nourished, energized, and satiated through each dynamic moment. From all of us here at Florida Fruit Shippers: Enjoy!


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Saturday, March 12, 2022

Spring Cleaning with Oranges and Grapefruits


It's a funny thing, spring: as those first March and April showers splash down on the budding plants outside, we feel a surge of energy as we look around our homes and get motivated to thrust open the windows, roll up our sleeves, vacuum, wipe, sweep and shake out the settled winter dust, and make everything fresh and sparkling.  We run to the grocery store and stock up on cleaning detergents, solvents, degreasers, de-crudders, dusters, and fresheners. Many of the name brand cleaners boast enticing, all-natural tag lines with such alluring phrases as "with the cleaning power of orange oil!" or "natural citrus power!" Here in the citrus business, we can't help but smile knowingly.  Oranges and grapefruits rival their better-known cleaning cousin--lemons--for their ability to both clean and deodorize. They don't have to be paired with harsh, environmentally unfriendly chemicals often found in most brand-name cleaners, nor are they nearly as expensive to use.

What Makes Citrus So Good at Cleaning?

The rind of citrus fruit is the concentrated storage unit for some really potent--and yet safe and environmentally friendly--cleaning compounds. We've already discussed the power of the flavonoids concentrated in orange and grapefruit peels for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turns out, one of the main flavonoids, called d-limonene, is also a remarkable dirt and grease solvent, and is the primary essential oil that gives citrus fruits their signature bright, enlivening aroma that one equates with a clean and fresh household. In addition, the acidic nature of citrus makes it particularly effective at cleaning up stains and residues from things like fruit juices, coffee, lipstick, wine, and sweat, and also rust and limescale. Vitamin C has antibacterial properties as well; while it won't kill microorganisms outright like harsher cleaners might, it actually creates an environment that is hostile to these pathogens, so that they cannot thrive nor replicate. This is a great approach in the kitchen, as citrus can clean surfaces and subdue harmful bacteria and viruses without introducing endocrine-damaging chemical toxins to our foods and food-preparation surfaces.

Let's Get Cleaning!

Here are some great household uses for your oranges and grapefruits.  Remember, the magnitude of their cleaning power is directly proportional to the quality and freshness of the fruit you use. Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we guarantee that you will have the freshest and highest quality fruits around, with the most concentrated levels of germ-busting, aroma-enhancing flavonoids and vitamins!

General Household Cleaner: It's easy to make a highly effective household cleaner with orange rinds, vinegar, and a few extra ingredients if you want to add them.  You'll need a quart-sized jar with a lid (like a recycled spaghetti sauce jar), an empty spray bottle from a previous cleaning solution or purchased new, distilled white vinegar, rinds from 4-6 peeled oranges (grapefruits would work too), cheesecloth, and, if desired, some herbs like rosemary. Pack the jar with your orange rinds, add rosemary or other herbs if desired, and fill the jar with vinegar.  Seal lid tightly. Store in a cool, dry, dark area such as your pantry for 4-8 weeks.  The longer you let it sit, the more the oils from the rind will infuse into the vinegar, and the darker the solution will become.  After the storage period, pour the amber-colored solution through a strainer or cheesecloth to fill a spray bottle halfway, and then fill the rest with water. You now have a cleaning solution that can tackle surfaces like stovetops, toilets, countertops, sinks, tile or linoleum floors, carpet stains, and even glass!  Because it is acidic, however, it is not recommended for granite, quartz, or marble counters, or on hardwood floors.

Bathroom Buster: Got a dirty bathroom? Grab a grapefruit! Simply cut it in half, eat the delicious fruit inside, salt the remaining pithy inedible parts generously, and voila: you have a versatile bathroom scrubber. It cuts tough bathtub rings, dissolves shower, sink, and countertop soap scum and water mineral stains, and removes toothpaste residue with ease.

Clothes Protection: In addition to making a wonderful household cleaner, oranges have another superpower: they repel bugs! No one likes the smell of mothballs, but who doesn't love the enticing aroma of oranges and cloves?  Ditch the mothballs and insert clove studs all over the peel of a whole orange.  Tie a string or decorative ribbon around your creation and hang anywhere you need to protect clothes from moths.

Fire Ant Removal: Fire ants are an invasive, destructive species. If you need to take care of a fire ant problem, don't add chemicals to the environment.  Orange oil is one of the only proven natural, environmentally-friendly solutions. Simply peel a bunch of oranges and place the peels in a blender with enough water to create a puree.  When you blend the mixture, the orange essential oils are released and, when poured onto a fire ant hill, say goodbye to the fire ants. Best of all, you'll still have the delicious fruit of your oranges to enjoy!

Clean Inside and Out

We already know that both oranges and grapefruits from Florida Fruit Shippers make for some clean and healthy eating. Now you can also use them for a clean and healthy household. 

Happy Spring!


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Monday, February 28, 2022

Family Games with Citrus!

Citrus fruits: there's no doubt that kids and adults alike love to eat them.  And here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we love to send fresh-picked, delicious fruits of the most delicious caliber your way.  But what if there were a way to maximize the enjoyment of your fruits, beyond peeling and eating them?  In this week's blog, we are going to look at some ways your fresh citrus can also be incorporated into family fun and even educational activities!

The Citrus Memory Game

Citrus fruits are loaded with memory-boosting bioactive polyphenols, which are particularly high in oranges.  Grapefruits, by comparison, have more Vitamin A than oranges, and Vitamin A has been shown to keep cognition sharp.  What better way to flex those brain muscles than to play a memory game!  In this game, one person is the caller. Each of the other players are assigned a citrus fruit, which they will hold in their hand. For example, mom can be an orange, dad can be a grapefruit, one child can be a tangerine, and another child can be a Honeybell.  If there are more than four people, other players can double up with any of these fruits.  The caller will then call out six fruits in a random order. For example, he or she might say "grapefruit grapefruit orange Honeybell!" After the caller says the order, the group must lift their fruits in the correct order.  If someone lifts their fruit at the wrong time, they are out, and must give their fruit(s) to one of the other players, who is now responsible for two or more fruits as the game progresses. The winner is the one left with all of the fruits!

Orange Tic Tac Toe

Cut three oranges in half. Each player takes three halves. One decides to be the "face up" side, and the other decided to be the "face down side.  Draw a tic tac tow grid on a large, clean piece of paper, or use edible items such as celery stalks to create a grid on a clean counter, table, or cutting board.  The first player places an orange half face up in one of the grid spaces.  The second player follows by placing an orange half face down on another.  The game continues until all of the grid spaces are filled, and if either player succeeds in making a straight line with their orange halves, they win.

Sensory Water Play

Babies love to explore the world through their senses: sight, smell, taste, and touch. A simple tub filled with water and slices of citrus fruits is an excellent way to introduce your infant or toddler to a whole gamut of sensory experiences: the bright colors of the rind and pulp, the bumpy texture, the sweet and sour tastes, the uplifting citrus aromas. Babies who can sit up on their own can even sit right in the tub for an immersive experience, while older toddlers might enjoy interacting with the tub as a "touch tank" to reach in and explore. Older kids can take it a step further by incorporating their imaginations: cut up circles of oranges can become sea monster eyes, or grapefruit slices can be Mickey Mouse ears.

"Kneed" An Orange?

Now here's a game for the more athletically-inclined friends and family members in your orbit: The Orange Knee Game!  For this one, you will need two hula hoops placed at about five meters from the starting point, and six oranges.  This game can be for two, four, or six players, with each player assigned to one of two teams. Each player gets three oranges, which are placed on the floor on the starting line in front of them.  The goal is to pick up each orange, one at a time, between the knees, and figure out how to waddle, walk, or jump the orange to the inside of their respective hula hoops.  Players are not permitted to use their hands--only their knees! The team that gets all of their oranges inside the hula hoop first is the winner.  Or, if you don't want to compete, you can simply do this game as a way to work on your athletic prowess.

So, in the words of our own FFS founder, "who says you can't play with your food?" Here's to enjoying your fresh citrus in lots of new and fun ways--and then you can enjoy the delicious reward!


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Friday, February 11, 2022

Family Fun with Citrus on Valentine's Day

 Family Fun with Citrus on Valentine's Day!

As Mr. and Mrs. Love Emoji above clearly demonstrate, Valentine's Day and Citrus fruit make a great pair! These easy-to-make emojis are perfect for any kind of citrus fruits, especially ones with evenly round or oval shapes such as oranges (Mrs. Love Emoji), Temple Oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits (Mr. Love Emoji).  We'll go over some really fun and creative ideas for bringing citrus into your Valentine's Day festivities. But first, you may be wondering:

Why Citrus Fruits for Valentine's Day?

Chocolates, flowers, and those little heart candies with sentiments on them: Aren't they what you give for Valentine's Day? Well, sure. Everybody does that. Citrus is a fabulous and healthy alternative. In the flood of classic Valentines' outpourings, giving citrus gifts, doing citrus crafts, and eating citrus foods as a way to commemorate Cupid definitely stands out. 

Oranges, in fact, actually boast a prominent place on the international stage for their association with love and romance.  In China, during the Valentine's-equivalent holiday of Chap Goh Mei, unmarried ladies write their phone numbers or email addresses on oranges and toss them out into the river or ocean, whereby potential suitors scurry to pick them up in order to make a love connection.  In Italy, the juice of the orange has long been considered a potent aphrodisiac, with orange juice being offered up in villages across the country on Valentine's Day to all who seek romance. Valentine's Day's long association with the heart symbol also makes it a shoe-in for focusing on heart health. Citrus is much better for one's heart than candy, and oranges have a healthy amount of heart health-boosting and vitality-inducing hesperidin in them, as well.  What better way to say "I Love You?"

Easy Citrus Valentine's Fun for Kids

Ready to celebrate Valentine's Day the healthy way?  You'll need just a few household supplies and a nice assortment of oranges, mandarins, and/or grapefruits from Florida Fruit Shippers. First, to make Mr. and Mrs. Love Emoji featured above, you simply need red and black markers. Look up classic emojis, or make up your own!  If you're doing these with younger kids, it's fine to use craft or dry erase versus permanent markers.  There's no right or wrong way to make your emojis, but for the purposes of Valentine's Day, you can definitely encourage lots of hearts.

Mr. and Mrs. Love Bug

Here's a fun way to dress up your citrus: turn them into love bugs!  You can start with your Love Emoji fruit creations, or use googly eyes and glitter for their faces.  Then, using toothpicks, insert little antennae on the tops of the fruits and glue pink or red hearts on them.  Finally, cut out larger red hearts from foam or construction paper, glitter them if you wish, and glue them to the bottom so that your lovebugs have little "feet."

Orange You Glad It's Valentine's Day Gift

Here's a juicy, inexpensive gift idea: Using mandarins or oranges, print out as many of the following tags as you will need: Orange You Glad It's Valentine's Day?  Then, using a red, pink, or heart-adorned gift bag (or decorating plain bags yourself), place a single citrus fruit in each bag. You may want to use your Emoji fruits or lovebugs, or just a simple undecorated fruit.  Add anything else you may wish: some chocolates, some paper confetti, etc., close the bag, and affix your tag. Give to everyone in your child's class, your coworkers, family members, friends, neighbors, mail carrier, garbage collectors, and anyone else you might think could use a burst of Valentine's sunshine!

A Yummy Valentine's Treat

Finally, while citrus fruits standalone in the taste department, there's no doubt about it: citrus and chocolate are perfect together.  Melt up some chocolate chips and butter in a pan for a fast fondue-style dipping sauce, cut up some orange and grapefruit wedges, dip, and enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers. 


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Friday, January 28, 2022

Take the Temple Orange Quiz!

Take the Temple Orange Quiz!

How much do you know about Temple Oranges? Try this quiz to find out. 

Question: What do you get when you cross a mandarin with an orange?
    A. Tangor
    B. Temple Orange
    C. Royal Mandarin Tangor
    D. All of the above

Question: Why are they called Temple Oranges?
    A. Because your body is a temple and you want to feed it the most nutritious orange
    B. Because they are eaten in temples
    C. Because they were first propagated by a man named W.C. Temple
    D. All of the above

Question: Why should you order and enjoy Temple Oranges from Florida Fruit Shippers in February?
    A. Because they are only available in February
    B. Because they are not available at the grocery store
    C. Because they are still in season late into the winter
    D. All of the above

Question: Why Are Temple Oranges Great to Give for Valentine's Day?
    A. Because they are heart-shaped
    B. Because they have "Be Mine" stamped on them
    C. Because Cupid likes them
    D. Because they are an uncommon and wonderful way to say "I love you"

If you answered "D" to the above questions, you are a Temple Orange superstar!  Let's explore these delicious, nutritious, unique fruits a little bit further.

What Are Temple Oranges?

Temple Oranges are the luscious hybrid of tangerine and sweet orange, which explains one of their alternate name: tangors. They are medium-sized with more of an elliptical tangerine shape, and the peel and pulp are both a very attractive orange-red color. The color alone clues you in: this is one healthy citrus!  In addition, they have a thin rind that is very easy to peel, and the fruit is super juicy.  This is a great on-the-go snacking orange that is easiest to peel and eat outside or near a small trash can, as there are some seeds you'll need to gracefully spit out while enjoying them.  

Where Did They Come From?

While Temple Oranges can certainly be eaten in temples, and while they are very nutritious and perfect for maintaining your body as a temple, their name actually derives from the man who first propagated them. Tangors are a natural hybrid, and this particular variety was discovered in Jamaica in the late 19th century by a Florida fruit grower named Boyce. Boyce sent some budwood samples to nearby Florida, where William Chase Temple propagated them and shared them with a friend of his who owned a nursery in the Winter Park area. Because they grew best in Florida, they became a hit by the 1940's, and are still sought after today.

Whom Are They Best For?

Temple Oranges are gluten-free and vegan, easy to pack for road trips and school lunches, and taste delicious; any health- and taste-conscious kid or adult will love them!  With Valentine's approaching quickly, a gift basket of Temple Oranges is an uncommonly perfect way to say "I love you." 

 Why Should I Order Them Soon?

One of the great things about Temple Oranges, in addition to their power-packed nutrition content, great sweet-tangy taste and easy snackability, is that they are late-season oranges.  In other words, we're still picking them deep into the wintertime!  However, the season will be ending soon, and these wonderful fruits won't be available past mid-February.  Because you can't find them in a store, there is only a small window to enjoy Temple Oranges until next season. 

Ready to order?  Just click here: Temple Oranges


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Saturday, January 8, 2022

Warming Citrus Drinks for Wintertime

After a relatively warm Christmas, one look at the national weather report in the northern hemisphere in January is all it takes to convince anyone: baby, it's cold outside!  There's snow in the west, snow in the north, even snow in the deep south. To top it off, the sudden change from unseasonably warm in December to blizzards and wind chill factors in January is challenging even the most hardy of immune systems.  Here in Florida, there isn't any snow, but the cooler temperatures are actually helping the citrus trees sweeten up their fruits and pack them with more vitamin C. Nature's answer to fighting the winter chills and germs? Warm drinks made from cooled citrus! 

Cooler Temperatures Make Sweeter Citrus

Most of us consider oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits to be a balmy-weather crop that grows best in warm temperatures.  But consider this: many citrus varieties thrive in subtropical climates like Florida, California, and the Mediterranean, and not only in the deep tropics.  In fact, citrus plants that are acclimated to occasional cold spells actually produce the sweetest and most nutritious fruits!  This may come as a surprise, since hard freezes in Florida often make the news as being devastating to citrus farmers.  While hard freezes are relatively rare, the "orange belt" of central Florida does have a distinct winter during which temperatures easily drop into the forties at night. The citrus trees adapt to this temperature plunge by giving their fruits a "winter coat": the peel thickens and takes on a richer, deeper color, locking in all of the delicious juices. Inside, the fruit responds by reducing its acid content and churning out more fruit sugars. The result is a more succulent, sweet product.

Warming Up with Cooled Fruits

Winter is a time for self-care and slowing down, and our Florida Fruit Shippers oranges, honeybells, tangerines and grapefruits are ready to serve! These winter-sweetened fruits are primed to warm you up and make you feel better if you are under the weather.  To increase your body temperature and fight off infection and fatigue, nothing can beat a warm (not too hot) drink.  One study, performed in 2008 by the Cardiff Cold Centre at Cardiff University, demonstrated that just the sensations of drinking a slightly sweet, warm drink--the steamy aroma of the fruits, the heat of the cup in the hands, and the taste and warmth of the fluid cascading down the throat--were enough to immediately ease common cold symptoms like sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, chills, and fatigue--and that these effects were sustained.  In other words, simply nurturing ones senses via a warm, healthy, sweet beverage can have powerful healing properties.  Add to this effect with the immune-boosting, virus-busting ingredients found in citrus, and the benefits of a warm citrus drink are impossible to ignore.

How to Make a Warm Citrus Drink

If you have a favorite brewed tea, try boiling it with orange and grapefruit slices and a sprig of rosemary.  Of course, if you wish to sleep or relax, make sure the tea is decaffeinated. You can also heat up apple juice with citrus slices, cinnamon sticks, and clove for a simple cider. For an even more potent vitamin punch, try some Hot Citrus Apple Cider or include other antioxidant- and Vitamin C-rich fruits in your beverage, such as this Warm Cranberry Citrus Drink. And while we definitely do not recommend boozing up your healing beverages, as alcohol can be both dehydrating and disorienting, do try this simple Citrus Hot Toddy minus the spirits.  The added sweetness of honey soothes the throat and offers antibiotic benefits.

Bring some sunshine to your chilly winter with a nice warm citrus-infused drink, get cozy, and enjoy Florida sunshine right there in your mug!


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