Friday, February 24, 2023

Here's the SCOOP on Citrus Rinds!

We all love to eat oranges and grapefruits, and there are many different ways of getting to the tasty insides: we can peel them with our fingers, peel them carefully with a knife, cut the fruit into quarters or wedges, cut the fruit in half and pare out each individual section, etc.  No matter what methods we use, the common goal is to get past the rind to get to the "good stuff": the delicious pulp inside. Typically, the rind ends up in the garbage or compost bin. But wait! With Spring Tangelos being picked and getting ready for free shipping and grapefruits fresh off the trees, we here at Florida Fruit Shippers have the "scoop" on maximizing your fruit to the fullest, and that includes the rinds. So don't toss those peels!

This blog is the first of two installments on how to best use your rinds. This first one will hone in on the natural bowl that is created when you cut your fruit in half, allowing for a number of creative and useful household solutions.

Fruit That Will Bowl You Over

Spring is about to be sprung, and with that comes the onset of fruit salad season. Traditionally, fruit salad is a straightforward process: slice up a variety of fruits and toss them together in a mixing bowl, distribute to smaller bowls or cups, and serve. While any combination of fruits will do, make sure you have oranges and/or grapefruits mixed in well as the ascorbic acid that occurs naturally in citrus prevents the other fruits from browning. But what if the bowl is a fruit too?  With one extra easy step, the only serving ware you will have to worry about is the cutlery, or you can eat with your fingers! Simply slice your orange and/or grapefruit (for a slightly bigger bowl) in half and scoop out the pulp carefully. Voila: the remaining rind is a perfect one-serving-sized bowl for your fruit salad. Toss your fruits together in a mixing bowl and distribute to your citrus rind bowls.  Serve with a side of cream or dollop of yogurt, a sprig of mint, and compost your bowl when you are done. Or, if your bowl is still in good shape, rinse it well and use it for the next tip:

Freshen Up Your Refrigerator

Oranges are natural air fresheners. They do a wonderful job of neutralizing garbage and old food smells, and a common trick is to throw some orange peels and ice cubes in your garbage disposal and turn it on. In additions to odor neutralization, the rind "bowls" we talked about can also be used as refrigerator deodorizers. After you make your orange rind bowl and enjoy the pulp, fill the bowl with household salt and tuck it away in the back of your fridge. Any lingering food odors will be neutralized and your refrigerator and its contents will smell fresh and inviting every time you open the door. This tip is actually used by the national house cleaning service, Merry Maids.
Light Up Your Life

Oranges and grapefruits are popular scents for candles, lotions, and essential oils because they have uplifting, energizing, and comforting aromatherapy benefits.  They can also be pricey, which is ironic because citrus rinds can actually serve as candles themselves!  For this DIY use of a rind bowl, you will need to be very careful to not scoop out the center stem piece, as that will serve as the wick. Fill the bowl with olive oil or vegetable oil, and light the "wick" (the center stem piece). It may take a bit longer to catch the flame than on a traditional candle. Once lit, your citrus bowl candle will burn for four to five hours.

Citrus is the perfect spring fruit. It makes you feel healthy inside and out, and every bit of the fruit can be used for healthy living, inside and out. Next week, we'll explore even more springtime uses for citrus rinds, including ways to revitalize your taste buds and brighten your home, so that you can enjoy your fruits with maximum "a-peel."


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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Hair's Some Great Advice: Use Oranges!

We all know that oranges are wonderful to eat, but did you know they are also a top shelf beauty product? We spoke with Aliyah, a 23-year old from Tampa Bay, about her hair care journey and how she came to discover that oranges were the answer to practically all of her hair challenges!  

About Aliyah

Aliyah (pictured here) is a warm, energetic, and outgoing young woman, described by her friends (myself included) as a "ray of sunshine." She has a gift for storytelling and making people laugh out loud. She is also a Brazilian samba and belly dancer who works as the "studio godmother" at the very successful Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. She loves nature, and time and again has turned to natural solutions for health, beauty, and wellness. Growing up in sunny Florida, citrus is very familiar to her, and she even had an orange tree in the backyard of her family home. Florida Fruit Shippers conducted this "juicy" interview to learn more about her "mane" beauty secret: oranges!

FFS: Thanks for doing this interview, Aliyah!

Aliyah: (upbeat laughter) Sure!

FFS: Can you please tell us about your hair type?

Aliyah: I have what's called category 3C hair.  Not super tight coils, but not loose at all, either. It's an awkward in-between type. I have really low porosity so it's hard for my hair to retain moisture. I've also had a lifelong battle with anemia which causes dandruff and really dry hair and skin because I'm not getting enough blood flow to my body. 

FFS: What are some challenges with taking care of your hair? 

Aliyah: Dryness is the main thing. I can grow my hair, but dandruff and hair loss have been big problems. I spent a lot of time navigating medicated and natural hair products that are very expensive, and they only helped a little. At a certain point I started doing things myself, starting with using mayonnaise on my hair. It worked pretty well, so I thought: "Huh! Food can be really great for my hair!" So then I made an avocado mask with berries and essential oils. That was pretty good too. One day when I was about seventeen, I got a trim from my hairstylist and I told her about my experimenting with food on my hair. She told me that she uses oranges to help her grow her baby hairs and it really worked...and it's also good for the dry hair and dandruff.  So I gave it a try and it got me results!

FFS: How do you use them? 

Aliyah: So I went and bought oranges, and sliced them up.  I do this hair washing process: two shampoos, conditioner, deep conditioner, then a leave in conditioner. My hairstylist recommended that I do the orange slices directly on my scalp after the first shampoo. I part my hair into four sections and work the oranges in by scrubbing them into my scalp. Then I rinse and do the second shampoo. She said oranges are also a natural conditioner so I could theoretically leave out conditioning steps, but I still condition. I used them on a regular basis starting in high school and really noticed a difference: my dryness improved and the dandruff totally ended. It became part of my routine and now my beauty supplies are fruits! Also, your hair smells amazing afterwards and lasts most of the day. I seal my moisture in with coconut oil, which also holds in the orange fragrance. I always get compliments when I do this routine.

FFS: How about your skin?

Aliyah: I also use Vitamin C on my face for skin care, and make sure I eat foods rich in Vitamin C. Once I made orange oil right from fresh oranges. Orange juice is my daily juice with my eggs in the morning.It helps with my minor B12 deficiency and overall health.  And of course I eat oranges too! 

The Proof is In the Pulp. And the Peel.

Aliyah's success with oranges is no surprise when it comes to the biochemistry of these wonder fruits. Vitamin C, rich in the pulp that Aliyah scrubs directly onto her scalp,  is a powerful antioxidant that has the power to increase collagen production and moisture in the skin and hair. In addition to Aliyah's routine, you can also save your orange peels and boil them to make an infusion. Let it sit for one day, and then use it as a final rinse for your hair and even your skin after bathing. If you wish, you can add apple cider vinegar for extra shine. To combat dandruff, you can also add a cup of plain yogurt to the infusion, blend well, and let it sit on your hair and scalp for up to several hours before rinsing.

For best results, use premium oranges, including the delicious and easy-to-peel Temple Oranges that are shipping free this month from Florida Fruit Shippers, to get glowing skin and hair, inside and out!


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