Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Best Way to Spread Holiday Cheer: Florida Citrus

It happens every year: the holidays roll around, and you find yourself thinking about that list of people you really ought to appreciate in some small way. Often, these are the folks who make a difference in our lives but whom we don’t know too well: coworkers, our children’s teachers or instructors, neighbors, relatives we don’t see often, or maybe your hairdresser, mail carrier, or babysitter. Perhaps you’re also the type who loves to “gift” your circle with some small token. And let’s not forget that awkward moment when someone has a gift for you, but you’ve bought nothing for them!

Most of the time, it’s easiest to come up with one gift (or a couple of set options) that we can acquire in bulk for these occasions. Gift cards are a safe choice, but I know I’m not alone in considering them a bit boring—and the costs can add up. Decadent baked goods are one possibility, and some love them, but it’s not the right choice for those who have allergies or are watching their weight. Many people are tired of generic candles and mugs.

This year, why not share the joy of citrus with these acquaintances? Of course, one of our fantastic gift boxes, baskets, or cases is the perfect choice for your close relatives, friends, and key business associates. Try our Florida Sunshine Box or our Christmas Tree Deluxe! However, it’s not always appropriate to go all-out for smaller gifts such as these (though some of our options, like the Fruit Sampler or the Tangerine Special are very reasonably priced). Instead, handle a number of gifts by ordering several trays of our fantastically special Page oranges (a truly gourmet variety they’ve likely never tasted), our bright and juicy tangerines , or our classic favorite navel oranges and shipping them to yourself. Then pick up some pretty baskets at the thrift store (or repurpose baskets and boxes you already own). Line them with tissue paper or raffia and place three to five citrus fruits inside. Another option is to gather and tie the fruits in a pretty, inexpensive dish towel in bright citrus colors. With a cute gift tag, this will look beautiful and seasonal and set you back less than $10 per person. You know the citrus will be absolutely delicious and perfect, and your recipient won’t feel guilty about enjoying it!

Of course, if you’re the type who loves to get crafty and make something, oranges and citrus offers lots of great opportunities here, too. Last year, we showed you how easy it is to make gourmet citrus salt and citrus sugar. Packaged in a pretty mason jar with a ribbon, these make perfect and inexpensive gifts for your foodie friends. If you prefer to go with a more beauty-oriented gift, our citrus sea salt scrub is also a cinch to make, keeps your skin smooth and soft, and smells incredible. Or if soap-making sounds fun to you, check out this very simple glycerin-based Orange Zest Lemon Soap, made in a double boiler. All of these gifts are made from the rind of the orange, meaning you still get to enjoy the rest of the fruit. Why not order some of our perfect citrus and make use of the peels for these holiday treats?

Or, what about a gift to keep your friends’ and acquaintances’ homes smelling wonderful—without any weird chemicals or ingredients you can’t pronounce? These adorable bags of stovetop simmer spices, featuring a whole orange, whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, look so cute and would be really easy to put together.

Finally, if you do want to bake, there are so many incredible citrus options out there that we can’t begin to cover them in this post (and won’t try!) Look for a special feature on citrus Christmas treats soon, but for now, I’d like to share a few personal family favorites with you.

I made these cranberry-orange cookies last year for gift boxes, and they were my favorite of the whole bunch. There’s something about the sparkle that makes them so festive, too. I was surprised by how much my children loved them.Another cookie my children ask for that you might not expect them to is biscotti! The homemade version really bears no resemblance to the ones you find lurking in glass jars at coffee shops (you know, the ones that have been there since the beginning of time). They’re slightly fiddly to make, but a nice thing about them is that recipes tend to produce a lot and be rather frugal. Here’s a lovely-looking orange-almond biscotti recipe. Oranges and citrus have been associated with Christmas and the holidays for generations. They’re fragrant, beautiful, delicious, and good for you. Every home ought to have these seasonal fruits on hand for enjoying and gifting during the holiday season. Order a tray, basket, or box from Florida Fruit Shippers today.

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