Friday, February 28, 2020

Peeling Your Orange...Are You Doing it Wrong?

As grown adults, there are certain things that we feel confident that we know how to do, generally because we’ve been doing them for so long. Tying our shoes? Check. Making toast? Handled. Brushing teeth? Got it figured out. Peeling an orange? Yup.

Well…hold up a minute. Did you know that  in some people's opinion, the simple act of peeling an orange is not as simple as you think? Folks have some interesting ideas about alternate ways to go about this process. What you don’t know—and may have never even thought about! —may surprise you.

This video shows two "new" methods. In what I call the “roll it out” method, you simply slice the “north and south pole” ends off your orange, then slice into the orange and “roll out" the sections. 

Well, this is one of those tricks that works better on YouTube than in real life. I tried this method, and it pretty much failed with a tighter-skinned Valencia. It was okay with a looser-skinned mandarin, but they’re so easy to peel anyway that I don’t really get the point.

In the second, "cap" method, you score an orange around the equator, then slip a spoon or your thumb in to remove each half’s peel, like a cap. You can then place this peel “cap” back on. This  might be a cool way to send a whole orange in a lunch for a child who doesn’t know how to peel an orange or doesn’t like to peel them. But why not just peel and section like usual? The cap is cute, but I don't know how worth it this is.

Ever wanted to peel your orange in one long spiral piece? This video makes it look easier than it is, and my orange squirted me a little, but it does look really cool.

And this guy likes making his orange peels into little section "bowls" for the fruit. It's useful in some cases, perhaps, like when hiking?

One issue I see with most of these methods is that they tend to leave more pith behind on the fruit than “regular peeling.” (Of course, this will only happen if you are using fruit with significant pith. Some citrus, like mandarin oranges, have very little.) 

This brings me to some other “orange consumption” methods. Of course, pretty much all of us know that you can just take a whole orange and slice it into nice juicy sections with the peel on. Kids usually love this!

 Here’s a small refinement on that method that I use; I think it really make the slices super appealing (or is that a-peeling? Sorry).

Finally, there’s the ultimate way to remove citrus of all its “bits and parts”—supreming. This process has been around a very long time. It is really a great way to enjoy perfectly luscious citrus sections, devoid of any peel, pith, or fiber. If you want to try it, here’s a step-by-step tutorial using grapefruit.

And a video:

Welll, huh. Does this seem like a too much fuss about the simple act of orange peeling? I kind of think so too.  It's just not that complicated!

Fortunately, here at Florida Fruit Shippers, the majority of the fruit we sell is very easy to peel. That’s on purpose! As a seller of prime eating fruit, we know what folks like, and they like fruit that peels up nicely, like our premium Navels. So don’t worry too much about any of these fancy tricks. Though you can make your peel into a little “fruit cap” if you want to, that’s just for fun.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

10 of the World's Most Unusual Citrus

Here at Florida Fruit, we never get tired of learning about citrus—it’s such a unique, ancient and multifaceted fruit, with an incredibly rich history. Although we already knew about some of the unique citrus out there, we were truly amazed by some of the unusual and downright strange citrus we learned about when writing this piece.  Check out some of these fascinating fruits, and prepare to be astonished.

The Ponderosa Lemon

"World's largest lemons (Ponderosa)  (c) 2011 Boston Public Library, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Want to make an entire batch of lemonade…with just two lemons? With the Ponderosa, you might be able to. Although these citrus are actually a hybrid of a pomelo and a citron, they taste pretty much exactly like the lemons we all know and love…just WAY bigger. Ponderosas aren’t found much in stores, but if you live in a citrus-growing region, you may find someone who has one in their yard. One issue with the Ponderosa is that they’re very cold-sensitive.

The Kumquat

"Kumquat on the tree" (c) 2008 Oliver Dodd, CC-BY-SA 2.0

These little oblong fruit, approximately the size of a large olive, are pretty well-known to Floridians. However, I often find that those outside the state consider them sort of mythical or a bit of a joke fruit. What is so unusual about these is that you eat them whole—skin and all! In fact, the skin is quite sweet, almost sweeter than the inside. If you get the chance, try a candied kumquat, an old-timey Florida treat.

The Bergamot

"Bergamot" (c) 2013 Leslie  Seaton, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Ever enjoyed a hot cup of Earl Grey tea? Then you’ve savored the flavor of a bergamot, a yellow-green citrus that is believed to be a cross between a lime and a sour orange. The bergamot is too sour to eat out of hand, but has a unique and unusual fragrance that is distilled into an essential oil used in teas and perfumes. Bergamot oil is also used in Turkish delight candy and Turkish smokeless tobacco. Not your typical citrus!

The Finger Lime

Finger lime-juice vesicles (c) 2018  Ivan the Boneful CC-BY-SA 4.0

The first time I saw one of these, I wasn’t sure if it was a) real or b) a citrus at all. But it is, and they are (according to scientists). Native to Australia, the tiny lime “pearls” inside the skin pop in your mouth and are refreshingly acidic. This is one to surprise people with, for sure.

The Buddha’s Hand

We’ve featured the extremely unusual Buddha’s Hand here before due to its religious significance. This crazy-looking citrus has no juicy sections inside; instead, it’s pretty much all pith and rind. It is extremely fragrant and the zest is often candied. It may also be used to perfume clothes or rooms. When the “fingers” of the fruit are closed, it is said to resemble a praying Buddha’s hand and may be used as a religious offering.

The Citrus Bizarria

CitrusBizarria  (c) 2015 Hesperthusa, CC-BY-SA 2.0

This astonishing citrus looks like something out of a myth or legend, but it really exists. First discovered in the 1600s in Florence, Italy, these trees bear both Seville oranges and citrons on a single tree along with strange “mixed” fruit that look really weird and almost alien-like…a mixture of all kinds of citrus characteristics. The “bizarria” was thought to be lost to time until it was rediscovered by a garden caretaker in the 1970s.

The Blood Lime

Blood lime  (c) 2014 CSIRO CC-3.0

You may well have heard of, seen, or eaten the blood orange, which is orange on the outside but a striking red inside, but you probably have not encountered the blood lime—an amazing red inside and out! This is a small Australian lime that has a pretty typical lime flavor. It is a hybrid of the red finger lime and a Mandarin.

The Sour Orange

Marmalade made from the Seville orange

While not too popular in the US today, this ancient variety of orange was one of the first oranges grown and eaten and is still used in a dizzying variety of cuisines around the world, and especially in marmalade. Also called a Seville orange, the sour orange is very seedy, very sour, and extremely flavorful. You would never want to peel and eat one, but they still have great culinary value. 

The Sweet Lemon

First sour oranges…now sweet lemons? Yup. Sweet lemons, also called limettas,  look like lemons but taste rather like sweet limes and have almost no acidity. They are popular in India and the Middle East and can be peeled and eaten like an orange.

The Tangelo (Honeybell)

Wait…is a tangelo an unusual citrus? To some people it is! For one thing, that funny “bell” on the top of the fruit can strike those not familiar as pretty unexpected! For another, unless you live in Florida or shop at specialty markets, you may not have had a chance to try one. Even then, you may never have had a truly top-quality Honeybell…the ones that make it to the store often don’t fall into this category.

If you think this is the end of the story about weird, amazing, and unusual citrus…well, it definitely isn’t. There are lots more out there, from Japanese citrus that can survive when it’s 10 below, to mystical citrons considered holy, to pure black, inedible citrus.

Of course, most of us prefer the kind that taste delicious. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of those for you here at Florida Fruit Shippers. Like a touch of the unusual? We think you’ll love our Red NavelsHoneybells, or Sol Zests.

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