Tuesday, December 26, 2023

How a Box of Navel Oranges Saved Christmas Dinner


Every December, my kids and I load up our family car in sunny, warm Florida and point north to the wintry cool beauty of my mother's country log home in the Great Smokey Mountains. This year, I proudly packed a fresh box of juicy Florida Fruit Shippers Navel Oranges, excited to present them as a gift of Florida Sunshine.

To my surprise, the navels proved to be much more than a creative gift. They ended up being a critical part of nourishing nine hungry family members and saving the Christmas feast! We spent most of Christmas Day cooking the holiday supper, and here's what our table looked like when everything was set out. Can you spot the oranges?

If you found the small bowl of juicy orange wedges in the center of the table, you got only part of it. As it turns out, we used oranges for not one, but four of our dishes.

The Peace Table

We created a multicultural "Peace Table" this year, featuring foods from several different traditions.  In addition to the standard traditional fare of ham, macaroni and cheese, and coleslaw, we also made a cranberry sauce cooked with fresh squeezed orange juice and pulp. We also made a Middle Eastern lentil and fruit dish which featured orange zest and juice from two navels. Here I am grating the zest after juicing, having forgotten my own advice from a previous blog about how it is much easier to zest first and juice second. In this case, I had to be very careful with the grater while zesting after squeezing out all of the juice:

Oranges Cross Many Traditions
In addition to the traditional American cranberry sauce dish (which actually has its origins as an un-jellied version in Native American cuisine) and the Middle Eastern lentil and fruit bake, we also made baked sweet potatoes with orange pecan glaze in honor of Yule and Native American traditions, and Jewish/Ukrainian latkes (potato pancakes) with an orange juice-sweetened applesauce. On my plate, below, you can see everything except the latkes. Only the macaroni and cheese and broccoli were not cooked with our Florida Fruit Shippers oranges!

Oranges can be found in most culinary traditions around the world. In Cuba, a citrus-based mojo sauce is a key condiment. In Haiti, oranges are used to clean meat before cooking, as a way to remove any gamey smell and assist in tenderizing. In northern Italy in February, the famous "Battle of the Oranges" is heralded as the "largest food fight in the world." Oranges have a prominent place in Italian cuisine, particularly in desserts. And anyone who loves Chinese food is familiar with orange chicken, though this particular dish has largely been Americanized.  In Asia, it is more likely that you will find oranges as part of a salad dressing, sauce, or vinaigrette, or simply as a delicious garnish to clean the palate between courses or to complete a meal. 

Good for the Gut


We ate a lot for the holidays, so when my health-conscious daughter said she wanted to eat a simple orange from the box of navels versus yet another helping of rich leftovers, I looked into what her body was trying to tell her. Sure enough, oranges aren't just versatile recipe allies and vitamin-packed snacks. They are rich in water, keeping your digestive tract well hydrated to function optimally, and their fiber content helps to improve both nutrient absorption and bowel regularity. Need a little extra relief after overtaxing your digestive capacity? Try eating orange wedges--peel and all--doused with cinnamon and a sprinking of cayenne. 

With the New Year upon us, there is lots of great citrus to enjoy. Early January is the perfect time to enjoy the unique flavors of honeybells  and Sol Zest mandarins while they are still in season, as well as the more familiar varieties of oranges and grapefruits through spring. Whether you want to eat healthier, help the planet, get more creative in the kitchen, or a combination, eating citrus an easy and affordable way to stick to a few New Year's resolutions all at once.

Happy New Year from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers!


This Is Where the Tradition of Cranberry Sauce Comes From (insider.com)

Italy’s largest food fight is battled with oranges | SBS Food

Asian Orange Vinaigrette With Ginger • Steamy Kitchen Recipes Giveaways

Does an Orange Help Digestion? | livestrong

Does Eating an Entire Orange—Peel and All—Really Help You Instantly Poop? Here's What a Dietitian Has to Say (eatingwell.com)

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Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Twelve Days of Citrusmas

On the first day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me:

Some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the second day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me:

Two Oranges with chocolate and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the third day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: a Grapefruit Triple Play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the fourth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: Fabulous Four, a grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the fifth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: Fiiiiiive Goooolden Honeybells!

Fabulous Four, a grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the sixth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: Six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the seventh day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: Heavenly seven, six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the eighth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: eight white seedless grapefruit, Heavenly seven, six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the ninth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me:  Nine Fruit Lover's Assortment, eight white seedless grapefruit, Heavenly seven, six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the tenth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: ten ruby reds, nine Fruit Lover's Assortment, eight white seedless grapefruit, Heavenly seven, six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the eleventh day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: eleven navel oranges, ten ruby reds, nine Fruit Lover's Assortment, eight white seedless grapefruit, Heavenly seven, six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

On the twelfth day of Citrusmas, my true love gifted me: a Free Shipping Deluxe Box, eleven navel oranges, ten ruby reds, nine Fruit Lover's Assortment, eight white seedless grapefruit, Heavenly seven, six orange explosions, fiiiiive golden honeybells!  Fabulous Four, grapefruit triple play, two oranges with chocolate, and some delicious easy-peel tangerines!

Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season, from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers!

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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Florida, Texas, and California: Partners in Working with Climate Change


Who doesn't love juicy, delicious citrus right off the tree? Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, it is our number one priority. Year after year, we work closely with local, sustainable growers in the fertile soils of central Florida to make sure you are receiving the freshest produce available.  Lately, the climate has been more unpredictable than in the past, with climate change accounting for bigger and more damaging storms during the summer months, longer periods of freezing in the wintertime, saltwater intrusion, and changing, uneven weather patterns. Climate change is a global reality, so what can we do about it?

A Small Carbon Footprint

Agriculture is one of the most impactful ways in which humans can affect the environment. Add to this fact that by 2050, there will be a dramatic increase in the need to feed people. Fortunately, of all of the foods produced globally, citrus has the very lowest carbon dioxide emission per kilogram, with an emission value of only 0.39. Compare that to beef, which comes in at a whopping 99.48! So, we can be reassured that citrus growing is a sustainable industry, and one that has not added to nor contributed fuel to the encroaching fire of climate change. Furthermore, the citrus industry is currently being used as a model for sustainably feeding people well into the future, when the demand for nourishing food is expected only to increase.

Climate Effects on Citrus Growing

While it is good to know that citrus growing is not adversely affecting the environment, climate change-induced weather events have the increasing potential to adversely affect the citrus groves. As such, we must diligently work to counter these effects by modifying our approaches. The Florida Citrus Belt, as it is known, is located right in the crosshairs of both hurricane tracks (see diagram above) and the southern reaches of cold fronts. As both of these events increase in intensity with climate change, the effects are noteworthy: crops can be lost to too many nights of exposure to freezing temperatures, citrus greening and infestations by psyllid insects due to excessive heat and moisture can destroy whole groves, and saltwater intrusion can kill trees at their roots.

Working in Partnership

California and Florida have long influenced each other when it comes to growing citrus, as both states have climates that make them the top producers of most of the varieties that we eat.  Texas comes in as a close second. While in past years that influence has mostly been in the form of sharing research and management techniques, with the onset of climate change, growers in all three states are now cross-pollinating (pun intended) to share their harvests nationally. In the interest of keeping the carbon footprint low and the citrus quality, accessibility, and variety high, we have now expanded our groves to include California and Texas--the "national citrus belt," so to speak. This way, we can all access some really delicious fruit such as Golden Honeybellsclassic Honeybells and late season Navels and Tangerines through January, even after the Florida season when the western fruits hit their flavor peaks. 

So rest assured: you can enjoy and gift all of the varieties of citrus we offer at different times of the year and know that you are also nourishing both your health as well as the health of the planet.


World of Statistics on X: "The environmental impact of foods 

Florida is already seeing climate change. New global report says it could worsen | WUSF

Modeling the carbon footprint of fresh produce: effects of transportation, localness, and seasonality on US orange markets (nsf.gov)

How historical trends in Florida all‐citrus production correlate with devastating hurricane and freeze events - Ferrarezi - 2020 - Weather - Wiley Online Library

Inside Florida's citrus groves, where growers are working to solve devastating disease and a climate-related shortage to save America's oranges (businessinsider.nl)

California Citrus Industry Follows in Florida's Research Footsteps - Citrus Industry Magazine

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Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ten Reasons to be Thankful for Citrus!

As is the tradition during this season of gratitude, we have been contemplating all of the reasons we are thankful for citrus fruits. Here are the top ten:

1: It's Available All Winter Long!

Many other nutritious fruits such as berries, grapes, melons, peaches, and plums go dormant in the wintertime, leaving us to expensive and environmentally unfriendly versions imported from long distances, frozen packages, or no availability at all. Thankfully, there are many varieties of citrus fruits that are prime for the picking through the coldest months. Florida Fruit Shippers is well versed in which citrus varieties are available when, as different varieties ripen at various times throughout the colder months. For a guide, see the chart below:

2: It Keeps You Healthy During Cold and Flu Season!
True to nature's perfect design, it figures that these vitamin C-packed fruits would be available when we need immunity boosting the most. There's a reason they call this "cold season": in addition to the temperatures being colder, there is an uptick in flus and colds as
 people become more sedentary and indoor-oriented. 

3: Vitamin C, Baby!
Citrus is famous for being loaded with vitamin C, and vitamin C is famous for being nature's most effective immune system vitamin.  Since your body does not produce vitamin C, it is very important to make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of it daily. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C works by strengthening your T cells and helping to make more immune cells. Adults need 75-90 milligrams of vitamin C per day; a typical orange or grapefruit contains around 70-80 grams, thereby covering most of your recommended daily allowance. 

4: It Lowers Cholesterol!
Starting your day with an orange, grapefruit, or freshly squeezed orange/grapefruit juice has been clinically proven to reduce total and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. In males, this reduction was reported at 23%, which is statistically significant. That being said, if you have been prescribed a statin to reduce your cholesterol levels, please check with your doctor before eating grapefruit, as grapefruit can interfere with the efficacy of some (but not all) statins.
5: Bring On the Flavonoids!
In addition to Vitamin C, citrus fruits are loaded with a class of compounds called flavonoids, which account for the vibrant colors in many fruits, flowers, and vegetables. "Eating the rainbow" is great advice, because flavonoids are known for their anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.  Not surprisingly, all citrus types are loaded with flavonoids. 
6: Potassium and Iron!
Who would need a multivitamin when citrus is in their diet? In addition to vitamin C and flavonoids, citrus is chock full of potassium, which is so important for blood pressure regulation. In addition, the vitamin C in these remarkable fruits boosts the bioavailability of iron, which can be particularly important for vegetarians.

7: It's Portable and Packable!
There aren't too many foods that come in their own packaging, have a long shelf life, are hardy for transporting without being damaged easily, and don't require any extra utensils or tools to access the delicious fruit inside. Enter citrus: nature's original portable snack! For kids, try some of the easy peel options like Florida Fallglo tangerines and Sol Zest mandarins.
8: It's Youth-Boosting!
In a time when expensive anti-aging products are everywhere you turn, the humble citrus fruit offers an affordable, natural, option. It hydrates skin from the inside out, is full of fiber which helps the body eliminate toxins that dull the complexion and lower energy, and that wonder vitamin C helps boost collagen production to keep skin elastic and supple. 

9: It's an Affordable and Unique Gift!
This time of the year, it can be challenging and stressful to find gifts for friends, loved ones, and colleagues that are affordable, meaningful, and unusual. Enter citrus! A bonus: by ordering directly from Florida Fruit Shippers, you don't have to go to the store, wrap anything, or stand in long lines at the post office. Just make sure you check the shipping deadlines for your region so you know your gift will arrive in plenty of time.

Whether you like sweet, sour, or a combination of the two, citrus provides!  Fresh picked fruits are so delicious that you can enjoy all the varieties and never even guess that it's incredibly good for your body, too. 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers!


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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

'Tis the (Picking) Season!

Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, late October and early November are an exciting time of year. After the lull of the hot summer, when citrus trees in our groves are growing green and lush in full sunlight, certain varieties of citrus such as grapefruits, navel oranges, and tangerines ripen to their full glory and become ready for harvest in the autumn. Meanwhile, other varieties continue to mature and sweeten through the cooler months so that they can be picked and enjoyed well into winter and the new year. 

Photo by Wendy Aros-Routman 

What is a Citrus Growing Season?

In what is known as the "Citrus Belt," the subtropical part of the United States that includes southern California, parts of Arizona and Texas, and Florida, citrus can grow year-round. As such, it's always "citrus growing season" in these areas, and despite variations in fruit harvesting seasons and a dormant period during colder winters, citrus trees are always in a stage of growth and fruit development. For those of us who are most interested in eating the delicious fruits, however, we are more interested in "harvest" or "picking" season versus "growing season." Harvest season varies according to the type of fruit and various latitude, soil, and climate change-induced factors such as temperature variability, water availability, storms, diseases such as citrus greening, and other dynamic conditions. Generally, however, there is a pattern that we can rely on from year to year across the collective citrus belt, climate change factors notwithstanding. 

Drop and Give Me Three

Drop three stages, that is, of citrus fruit development! In Florida, mature citrus trees typically bloom after the winter dormant period, producing a lovely fragrance reminiscent of gardenias, jasmine, honey, and citrus-scented essential oils. After blooming, the first phase leading to fruit production is the dropping of unpollinated flowers, which can be up to eighty percent of the total blossoms on each tree.  The second drop stage occurs when the tree releases marble-sized green fruits, and a third drop stage occurs for almost-ripe fruits that didn't quite "make the cut." This is simply nature's ingenious way of ensuring that all of the tree's energy is focused on the best possible fruit outcome. It is interesting to note that, unlike some other types of fruits, citrus will not ripen once separated from the tree, so fruit must be picked at its peak of ripeness to be enjoyed. In the groves, we do our best to support this natural design by providing the most nourishing conditions for these cycles to occur and picking them at their peak ripeness, thereby naturally harvesting the most delicious fruit!

Ripe for the Picking

Of course, it follows that the larger the citrus variety, the more months it takes to ripen, and so each type of citrus tree will blossom, drop, fruit, and ripen at different times of the year-- depending on variety, latitude and growing conditions--to allow for these various gestation periods. Grapefruits, being the largest, likewise usually take the longest, and we get to reap the benefits of a long ripening period that starts in early spring as one of the first citrus fruits of the season--and in three delicious varieties! The other first citrus of the season is the much smaller but equally delicious tangerine, which despite its small size has a rather long ripening period that also begins in the springtime. Florida Fallglo Tangerines are a special and very tasty variety, only available in November, that have become the benchmark fruit to mark the beginning of the citrus harvest season. Navel oranges are also ready this time of year.

So, as we embark on this festive season of "Season's Greetings," we can also greet the new citrus harvest with mouthwatering anticipation. Enjoy!


Citrus Flowering Season: When Do Citrus Blossoms Bloom (gardeningknowhow.com)

Winter Fruits: It's Harvest Time for Sunshine Citrus (thespruceeats.com)

2011_Dec_factors_citrus.pdf (ufl.edu)

Citrus Trees: How to Grow Lemons, Oranges, Limes, and Other Citrus Fruit | The Old Farmer's Almanac

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Delicious Flavors of Spring Citrus


Ahhh, spring! Temperatures are warming and the air is pleasant. Here in Florida, we are enjoying bug-free warm days and cool evenings, and a lack of hurricanes. The orange and jasmine blossoms are popping out, wafting sweet scents into the air. Both Easter and Passover are right around the corner, and so are the final weeks of citrus season until the Fall. Here at Florida Fruit Shippers, we wanted to make sure you get the best of the season's final picks for spring: Cara Cara Red Oranges, Navel Oranges, Easy Peel Tangerines, and Ruby Red Grapefruit. It's fruit salad time! 

Cara Caras

Want to make your dishes pop with color? The Cara Cara, also known as the Ruby Red or Scarlet Navel Orange, is your citrus of choice. They were first discovered in the 1970's in Venezuela at a place called Hacienda Cara Cara, and are now grown in Florida and California. Their bright red-orange flesh carries notes of strawberry and cranberry, and the extra carotenes that give the pulp such a deep hue carry a whole lot of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. In fact, regular consumption of high-lycopene foods has been shown to help prevent heart disease, prostate cancer, and vision loss. If you "cara cara" about your health, this seedless, easy-to-peel, delicious orange is for you! 

Navel Oranges

Navel Oranges have recently been the subject of a study by the University of Florida as research is developed to grow the best, healthiest, and sweetest fruit in their growing regions. It was discovered that the unique sweetness of this fruit is due to the higher organic content of the soil in the navel orange groves of both Florida and California, with the latter oranges having the longest season, through late May. So what is that "navel," anyway?  As it turns out, the navel oranges we eat today are exact clones of a single mutated orange that was discovered on a sour orange tree in Brazil by a Presbyterian missionary in the mid nineteenth century. The missionary was so intrigued by this odd and delicious orange with a tiny "baby" orange inside (the navel) that he propagated some little trees from a cutting. Over time, as more and more were propagated throughout growing regions in the Americas, navel oranges became a household standard.

Easy Peel Tangerines

While all citrus fruits are perfect for on-the-go snacking that comes in self-contained packaging, nothing can beat a variety that is easy to peel! It doesn't get easier than our tangerines, whose season continues through May. This particular type of tangerine--the FallGlo--is larger in size than most other varieties, though still identifiable by their distinct tangerine shape. This is because they are actually a genetic cross that is 5/8 tangerine, 1/4 orange, and 1/8 grapefruit!  In addition to easy snacking, these tangerines are easy to juice and have a richer flavor than traditional orange juice. 

Ruby Red Grapefruits
Nature creates mutations all the time. In the case of citrus, "spontaneous mutations" are particularly common and very natural due to the fragile genomes of these unique fruit types. Lucky for us, some of the yummier and more colorful citrus mutations in our history were discovered and propagated, such as the Navel Orange and the Ruby Red Grapefruit. In the 1800's, yellow and white grapefruits were grown in Florida and Texas, but were considered by most to be too sour. In 1929, a sweet mutation was discovered with red flesh, which was then propagated (via grafting a cutting onto another type of citrus tree) to create a regular supply of the beloved, sweeter Ruby Red Grapefruit that people enjoy regularly today. Best of all, unlike their white counterparts the Ruby Reds have a very high lycopene content and have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels in humans.

So stock up on your end-of-season citrus and enjoy their health benefits and deliciousness through the spring!


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Saturday, March 18, 2023

Daylight Savings Got You Down? Try Citrus!

Just last week, we were beginning to adjust to the longer days coming out of winter. But then, wham! Daylight Savings Time (DST) required us all to "spring forward"--aka set our clocks ahead--by one hour. If you're like the rest of us, you may still be adjusting to the jetlag-like effects of having our whole routine thrust one hour ahead, complete with the noticeable change in the times of sunrise and sunset. Combined with the ever-lengthening days as we greet the Spring Equinox, this adjustment may take awhile. Fortunately, we at Florida Fruit Shippers have some citrus-based solutions to help make your "DST Effect"--the jetlag you experience with the sudden time change--a little easier, so that you can once again sleep well at night and feel energized with the new time of the rising morning sun.

DST Effect Versus Jetlag

We all know what it feels like to wake up from a poor sleep: despite getting a few hours in, the whole day feels difficult to meet, and we often feel sluggish and compromised at work. While the DST (Daylight Savings Time) Effect is often called "social jetlag," it is actually different than jetlag because in the latter case, our bodies recognize the natural cues of the sun, thereby allowing us the ability to adapt in a more natural way. In the case of the DST Effect, we are being asked to keep our schedules the same while the time of sunrise and sunset are offset by a full hour in either direction. Research has shown this effect to be more stressful on the body than jetlag, as it forces us to adapt to unnatural rhythms. Hence, we experience more nights of poor sleep and more days of sluggishness, reduced concentration, lack of energy, and even--in some cases--depression.

Bring On the Tangelos

It's a good thing that Spring Tangelos are in season, because contained in these palm-sized, easy-to-peel fruits is a powerhouse of DST Effect-busting nutrition!  Tangelos are a unique cross between tangerines and grapefruits, and as such they are loaded with all the things a compromised, tired body needs: hydration, vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals. They can also increase the amount of melatonin in our body by 47 percent, and contain B vitamins which help you sleep by reducing depression and anxiety, readjusting the sleep/wake schedule, and aiding in the production of the main sleep-inducing hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Combined with their anti-inflammatory and gut-cleansing properties to help offset the physical stress of the DST Effect, eating a couple of tangelos per day will, amazingly, help you feel more energized during waking hours and better able to sleep at the sudden "new" time instigated by Daylight Savings.

What About Other Types of Citrus?

Typically, in-season citrus fruits like Spring Tangelos are the most nutrient-dense, namely because they are fresher and more packed with fresh-off-the-tree hydration and bioactive compounds. That being said, other types of citrus such as ruby red grapefruitsnavel oranges, and tangerines are still available, and Florida Fruit Shippers would never ship any fruit that isn't fresh from the groves! If you want to maximize the DST Effect counteracting powers of your fruits and eat fruits with the most concentrated nutrition in general, avoid grocery store citrus that has been subject to more transportation and time in boxes and on the shelves. This scenario amounts to more time away from their source trees and the resulting weakening of their bioactive compounds.

The clock may be springing forward, but you can spring back from the DST Effect with a little help from Florida citrus!


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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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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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