Monday, February 27, 2017

Beyond the Juice Glass: 15 More Delicious Ways to Enjoy Citrus at Breakfast

It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that orange juice is delicious at breakfast, especially when it’s freshly squeezed. If you’d like to think outside the box (carton?) a little bit, then there’s tangerine juice or grapefruit juice--also amazing when fresh! (By the way, here’s a tip: tangerine juice is exceptionally beautiful, and holds better in the fridge than some types of orange juice, such as that from navels.)

But if a “glass of OJ” is as far as you ever go when it comes to citrus for breakfast, you’re definitely missing out. There are lots of other delicious ways to enjoy the bright, fresh flavor of oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines in the morning. Remember, citrus is inexpensive, available most of the year, and well-liked by just about everyone. It keeps well and is ripe when you buy it, so you don’t have to worry about whether it’s ready or not. It’s also high in nutrition, from (of course) vitamin C to folate, fiber, B vitamins, and potassium. Check out these delicious and varied recipes, and enjoy a citrusy morning!

Healthy Choices

1. Orange-Banana Smoothie 

This simple, delicious and healthy smoothie will start your day off right. The yogurt and banana make it more filling.

2. Raspberry-Orange-Mango Smoothie Bowl

To get a bit more elaborate, have you ever tried a smoothie bowl?  This one uses fresh orange juice as its base, then adds frozen bananas, mango, and raspberries and tops it all with granola, blackberries and coconut butter. A nutrient-rich way to start your day.

3. Broiled Grapefruit

Halved ruby red grapefruit is darn good on its own. Halved ruby red grapefruit broiled with honey and topped with yogurt, honey, and pistachios? Yes Please!

Decadent Delights

4. Orange-Creamsicle French Toast 

Here’s an Orange Creamsicle French Toast that is not diet food, but looks out of this world good—stuffed with creamy orange filling and drizzled with a special orange syrup. Wow.

5. Orange Sweet-roll Pancakes

You’ve heard of sweet rolls…you may even have heard of orange sweet rolls…but have you heard of orange sweet roll pancakes? These are a bit involved, but extra-special amazing, with an orangey swirl and an orange glaze. Check them out!

6. Breakfast crepes with Candied Tangerines

Got a little extra time? These breakfast crepes with candied Tangerines are sophisticated, beautiful, and delicious—perfect for a special occasion like Mother’s Day!

Kid-Friendly Options

7. Orange-Banana Whole-Wheat Muffins 

Orange and bananas come together in these quick and surprisingly healthy whole-wheat muffins that kids are not going to turn down.

8. Baked Orange French toast

Baked orange french toast is super-simple (no more standing over a hot pan while everyone else eats!) and includes healthy wheat germ.

9. Easy Orange Coffee Cake 

This fun orange coffee cake uses canned biscuits as a “cheat,” but comes out looking beautiful and fragrant of fresh orange. Your family will go crazy for it!

New and Different

10. Coconut Chia Pudding

If you’ve never tried chia pudding, you’re missing out on a weird but wonderful health food. These little seeds have the power to turn any type of milk into a thick “pudding.” Here they’re mixed with coconut milk, honey, and vanilla, left overnight, and topped with coconut and orange slices in the morning for a cool tropical breakfast.

11. Carmelized Grapefruit Dutch Baby for Two

A Dutch baby is kind of like a giant puffy crepe. They’re easy and fun to make, and this one is topped with caramelized grapefruit.

12. Blood Orange Donuts 

Want to really go all out? These blood orange donuts look delicious and exotic. They’d be amazing for Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?

Homey and Comforting

13. Cranberry-Tangerine Scones

Love scones? Me too, and these cranberry-tangerine scones are easy and a bit lighter on the fat due to use of yogurt in the recipe.

14. Tangelo Muffins  

This tangelo muffins recipe is written especially to take advantage of Florida’s delicious tangelos, one of our very favorite citrus. The simple recipe makes a very moist and fragrant muffin.

15. Orange Cinnamon Granola

Homemade granola is one of most irresistible things I’ve ever turned out of my oven—it smells incredible, and is easy and much cheaper and better than store-bought. This simple orange cinnamon granola isn’t excessively high in sugar and will make your morning so much better.

Want More?

These ideas are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delicious citrus breakfasts! For more breakfast citrus recipes, as well as citrus DIY ideas, fun Florida citrus heritage photos, gorgeous photos from our groves, and much more, follow Florida Fruit Shippers on Pinterest.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Does An Orange Need to be Pretty To Taste Good?

With some fruits, the appearance of the outside is a good indicator of the taste that lies inside. We’ve all been drawn in by the look of a gorgeous box of strawberries or blueberries, or turned away from a box that looks slimy and moldy. And if your grapes look sad or withered, this is not a good sign.

On the other hand, I’ve found that a mottled, funny-looking mango may be delicious! Some unassuming or even ugly and scarred apples taste incredible. But what about citrus?

As a matter of fact, the way your citrus looks on the outside is not a great indicator of what it will taste like! Why? Well, let’s take a minute to think about what an orange peel is all about. The exterior of an orange is tough, a bit scaly, and leathery…almost a bit like the skin of our favorite Florida reptile, the alligator. When combined with the white pith beneath, it offers a great deal of cushioning, serving as a sort of “fruit jacket.” (If you’d like to see the insulating effect of the orange rind in action sometime, drop a whole orange into a glass of water and watch it float…. then try the same thing with a peeled orange, which will sink!) Orange peels are also full of powerful and fragrant citrus oils that protect the fruit from insects.
Put together, all these elements of the citrus “jacket” do an extremely good job of protecting the fruit inside—so good that citrus can wait for us on the plant for months on end without losing quality. (Try that with a strawberry!) But along the way, that jacket sometimes sees some wear and tear.

From what? Well, in the course of life, as we all know, a little rain must fall. Sometimes, in Florida, a LOT of rain! When this happens, oranges and tangerines and grapefruit may blow around quite a bit in the wind, causing them to bang up against the surrounding branches and develop a few scars and scratches. They’re fine inside their “jackets”—but the peels show some minor wear and tear.

Another thing that happens sometimes here in Florida is that our citrus fruit “regreens” (turns somewhat green again) after it has turned orange. This can be frustrating for us as growers, but it’s just part of living in our wonderfully warm subtropical climate. Regreening occurs when the weather is a bit warmer than usual and ripe oranges reabsorb chlorophyll from the trees. It does not mean that the fruit is unripe or is less sweet—in fact, some studies show that regreened fruit is actually sweeter! Indeed, in some parts of the world, citrus typically ripens without turning orange. Fortunately, citrus growers have access to sophisticated technology (as well as our own taste buds) to help us decide exactly when citrus is at the peak of ripeness and ready to pick, regardless of color. (As you may know, citrus does not ripen any further once off the tree.)

So, what does all this mean? The fact is, sometimes oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and other Florida citrus are a prime example of it being “what’s on the inside that counts.” Of course, here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we know that you often are sending our fruit as a gift, and with this in mind, we select fruit with an eye towards beauty as well as taste. At times, though, our growers harvest some absolutely delicious fruit that is, well, less than picture perfect. Such was the case with a recent crop of late-season Honeybells out of Frostproof, Florida. We offered these as a free shipping special, letting our customers know they were a bit “visually different.” They went fast!

So if taste is what matters to you more than anything, keep an eye out for the occasional “brutti ma buoni” (Italian for “ugly but good”) special here at FFS. As we all likely agree, beauty is nice, but flavor is king.

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