Tuesday, December 18, 2012

O is for Orange

I really love oranges.  As an FFA member in high school, our primary fundraiser was selling fruit.  Each year in November we would take orders for a December delivery.  There was nothing better than sinking your teeth into one of those fresh Florida oranges. 

Recently, I purchased a case of navel oranges from our local Shenandoah FFA Chapter and they have been delicious.  Of course there were about 80 in the box and there are only three of us to eat all of those.  Needless to say, we have had oranges for breakfast and dinner for the past two weeks.

Eating all of the oranges got me thinking about their value nutrionally and agriculturally.  According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, citrus fruits are one of the largest commodities of Flodida agriculture.  Oranges mean so much to Florida that they selected it as the official state fruit in 2005. They made the orange blossom their state flower, and orange juice their state beverage. I'd say they have a serious love of oranges in Florida and they should because oranges are a major part of their economy.  In 2006, 67% of all the citrus grown in the United States came from Florida.

Oranges come in several varieties: Naval, Hamlin, Pineapple or Valencia.

The USDA recommends that you wash the orange under cool water and pat it dry before peeling and eating it.  It is also suggested that you keep them in the refrigerator.  We usually keep ours on the back porch where it's just cold enough that they won't turn.  The great thing about oranges is that they make an excellent (but sometimes messy and sticky) snack.  Oranges have only 60 calories and have no saturated or trans fat in them.They are a huge source of Vitamin C which every human needs for the repair and growth of tissue in the body, healing wounds and in some cases have even helped lower blood sugar.

So how about adding an orange to your weekly food menu?

Happy peeling:)

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