Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What Is Your Citrus Zodiac?

Do you love horoscopes? How about a citrus horoscope? For today's blog, we thought we'd help you "squeeze the day" with a "juicy" take on the horoscope: your citrus zodiac sign!

Citrus with the Stars

No, this is not a play on "Dancing with the Stars"...we are referring to literal stars, as in the bright vortexes of light energy and planets in the sky. Since the times of the ancient Greeks, the alignment of the stars and their influence on our lives and characteristics have been a source of wonder, fascination and extensive study. What we know today as western astrology was probably born about 1,800 years ago, when the mathematician and astronomer Ptolemy published something called the Tetrabiblos. It documented various constellations according to one's position on the Earth in thirty degree sectors. The field of astrology was based on the principle that one's life can be directly influenced by the relative alignment of these celestial bodies at the time, date, and location of your birth. In addition to your main astrological sign, known as the sun sign, everyone also has a moon sign and a rising sign.

Not surprisingly, since all factors play into astrology and your horoscope, the foods you eat are related to your sun, moon, and rising signs. Since the citrus we grow here at Florida Fruit Shippers is filled with sunshine, we have hand-picked (pun intended) the best type of citrus fruit for your astrological sun sign! 

Your Citrus Zodiac

Aries: Red Grapefruit

Aries (born March 21-April 19) is the beginning of the Zodiac calendar, and a fire sign. Their symbol is a  ram, and as such they tend to take on new projects and challenges head-on. Aries tend to be full of life, and love to start the day with good energy and zest. As such, your best citrus fruit is the red grapefruit, with its juicy red pulp, immune-promoting polyphenols, and energy-boosting Vitamin C levels. 

Taurus: Honeybells

Taurus (born April 20 to May 20) is an earth sign that was recognized as a constellation even by the ancient Mesopotamians, about 4,000 years ago. Its symbol is the bull. Due to their bull nature, Taurus folks can be a bit stubborn and late to ripen, but when they do, there are many rewards. As such, your fruit is the Honeybell, which has ripened late this year due to the storms and cold weather this year in Florida, and as such the fruits (and you) are sweeter than ever this year!

Gemini: Navel Oranges

Gemini (born May 21 to June 21) is an air sign that hearkens the beginning of warmer days. Its symbol is the twins. Geminis tend to be able to adapt to most situations, and are flexible and adaptable. What better way to acknowledge versatility and adaptability than with the navel orange? Like their human counterparts, you can take them anywhere and they fit in well.

Cancer: Temple Oranges   

original zodiacCancer (born June 22 to July 22) is a water sign whose symbol is the crab. By their very nature, those with this sign tend to be nurturing and caring, and can have a healthy but slightly corny sense of humor. Crabs have a shell and a soft, sweet center, just like the easy-to-peel rind of the temple orange.

Leo: Cara Cara

Leo (born July 23 to August 22), is another fire sign represented by the lion. Leos are bold and passionate by nature, so what better citrus fruit to represent them than the fiery red navel orange, also known as the scarlet navel orange or cara cara? While Leos can be dramatic, like the cara cara they have a sweet, soft, flavorful center.

Virgo: White Grapefruit

the beginning of astrology

Virgo (born August 22 to September 23) is the only feminine Zodiac sign, represented by a maiden. Virgos are organized and tend to prefer the tried and true, and as such your best citrus fruit is the reliable white grapefruit. The golden rind of this variety of grapefruit is apt as well, as it is believed that the maiden of the Virgo sign will return and bring humanity a "golden age."

Libra: Spring Tangelos

Libra (born September 23 to October 23) is an air sign represented by a scale. Not surprisingly, their main trait is a quest for balance, justice, and fairness. For this reason, spring tangelos are your fruit: they are the patient result of a careful cross-breeding between tangerines and grapefruit, which provide a perfect balance of flavor.

Scorpio: Oranges with Chocolate

Scorpio (born October 24 to November 21) is a water sign represented by a scorpion. Sometimes, it is also associated with a snake or eagle.  In either case, Scorpios are known to be both dark and mysterious, much like the sweet and tangy oranges with chocolate box.

Sagittarius: Sol Zest Mandarin

ancient zodiac signSagittarius (born November 22 to December 21) is a fire sign represented by an archer or arrowsmith, but can also take the form of a centaur.  Sagittarians have a "life is short" attitude. With the onset of the Winter Solstice, the Sagittarian citrus fruit is the rare Sol Zest mandarin, available only during the shortest days of the season.

Capricorn: Double Bells

Capricorn (born December 22 to January 21) is an earth sign represented by a goat or sea goat. Capricorns like to keep very busy, so they need a citrus snack that will sustain them. As such, Capricorns are best matched with double honeybells, especially during their birthday when life gets extra celebratory and they may have a tendency to do too much.

Aquarius: Fallglo Tangerines

horoscope originAquarius (born January 22 to February 20) is an air sign that is often confused with a water sign, as its symbol is "the water bearer." Aquarians are considered wise and resilient. For that reason, their best citrus are the easy peel tangerines, which grow for the longest season under a wide variety of conditions.  

Pisces: Deep Red Grapefruit

how did the zodiac signs get their symbolsThe last astrological sign in the Zodiac calendar is Pisces (born February 20 to March 20). This is another water sign, whose symbol is a pair of fish swimming in opposite directions. Pisces are creative and free-thinking, but can also have an edge. As such, their best citrus is the deep red grapefruit, which is fresh and sweet and also a bit tangy: delicious!  

While you can enjoy all of the delicious fruits from Florida Fruit Shippers at any time of the year, consider treating yourself to your citrus zodiac when you need a little extra boost! 


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Tuesday, January 3, 2023

A Chilly New Year Brings Sweet New Citrus!

Brrrrr...even here in Florida, folks felt the effects of winter storm Elliott right down to our rarely-worn socks. Baby, it was COLD outside!  Sometimes, hard freezes can be tricky business for growers, as citrus in general is a warm weather fruit family that thrives when temperatures linger between sixty and ninety degrees Fahrenheit.  There are some exceptions: satsuma mandarins and kumquats do just fine down in the fifteen degree range, and some varieties of grapefruits can withstand longer freeze periods. As a general rule, however, any citrus can be damaged if exposed to hard freeze conditions for more than four hours. Fortunately, our growers are well-versed in caring for trees during these occasional cold blasts, and since citrus actually tastes better when exposed to non-extreme cold temperatures, the fruits coming out this winter post winter storm Elliott are exceptionally sweet and delicious!

Cold Weather Is Sweet for Oranges

Generally speaking, there are two types of citrus: sweet and acid. Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we specialize in the sweet types: oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines/mandarins. Florida is an ideal climate for sweet citrus fruits because we get just enough cold weather to sweeten the sweet fruits even more, but not enough to damage them. Cold weather can be a positive or negative stressor to many types of fruits. When they are stressed a little bit by the chill, it acts as a "positive stressor," breaking down the cells just slightly so that more sugar is produced as a stress response. Only when the temperature plummets below freezing for an extended period does it become a "negative stressor," permanently damaging the fruit and even the whole tree. Fortunately our growers are well versed in hard freeze care, and one bite into our Honeybells coming out right now for their short season will prove that the results are truly delicious!

How Do Growers Protect the Fruit?

Citrus growers are aware that a cold snap can either make or break the fruit harvest, depending on just how cold it gets and for how long.  With the extreme conditions of winter storm Elliott spanning several days, while the rest of us were warming up hot chocolate and cueing up movies, they worked hard for several sleepless nights, putting their freeze-savvy techniques into action. Here are some of the things that farmers can do so they could chill out about the chill instead of get frosted about it:

  • More Ice Please: Even though it may seem counterintuitive, one of the most ingenious ways to offset subfreezing temperatures is simply to keep the plants from freezing--by freezing them! When a hard freeze is forecast, farmers irrigate the trees with water. As the temperature plummets, this water freezes but also releases heat into the environment. This heat is often just enough to prevent the actual fruit from totally freezing, so it can get busy generating cold-response sugars for our benefit!
  • Decorate for the Holidays: Wrapping trees in incandescent Christmas tree lights can offer well-balanced warmth throughout the leaves and branches, and will not damage the tree due to their low heat level. If trees are to be covered, lights can be strung and plugged in first.
  • Create a Cover-Up: Trees can be staked so the plastic frames can be constructed around them. Alternatively, trees can be wrapped in burlap, blankets, or other frost-resistant cloth.

The Health Benefits of Cold-Sweetened Fruits

We often hear that sugar is bad for us. While that's the case for refined sucrose, which can cause blood glycemic levels to skyrocket, sugars from whole foods are another story completely: those cold-sweetened citrus fruits are loaded with nutritional goodness, and their relative sugar content and glycemic index are still very low. Pair this with the incredible nutrition benefits of eating citrus during the more sedentary winter months, and you've got a win!  Consider:
  • *When temperatures are low and we become more housebound and sedentary as a result, the temptation to eat sugary, processed foods can become magnified. Super sweet citrus fruits are just as easy to eat, and take care of that sugar craving, without packing on extra pounds.
  • *Winter can also be a low energy time when folks tend to catch more colds than usual, both as a result of being inside more. The Vitamin C in citrus is revitalizing, energizing, and immune-boosting.
  • *The fiber, Vitamin C, and flavonoids in citrus fruits are an excellent aid to weight management and loss. Add to that that they pack a lot of flavor, nutrients and satisfaction into way less calories compared to a cupcake or other processed snack of comparable size.
Just as cold weather can bring out the warmth in our hearts, so can it bring out the sweetness in our fruits. So bring on the cold...our Honeybells (and other delicious January citrus fruits) are cool with it!


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