Monday, September 17, 2012

SHH - Oranges Part 1

I feel a little bit guilty doing the Halfway Healthy twist on oranges. I mean, they are pretty good right out of their skin. Anything I would do would just make them unhealthy. But, let's say you don't feel like peeling and eating a burst of sunshine every day, or you have a picky kid (or adult) that doesn't want to eat bare fruit. I have some sweet ideas to make the orange only halfway healthy, but full-on delicious!

First, a bit about oranges, from the SuperFoods book... its "sidekicks" are: Lemons, white and pink grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines (you may have seen my blog about Nigella's Clementine Cake), and limes. All yummy.

Why are oranges a SuperFood? Well, they do prevent scurvy. Oh, and Oranges contain the following:

Vitamin C

Did you know... Humans (and guinea pigs) can't manufacture Vitamin C in their bodies. It's water soluble and not retained in the body, so we need constant replenishment from dietary sources to maintain adequate cellular and blood levels.

The book says our levels of Vitamin C are on the decline, possibly in part to the ready-to-drink juices we now consume. They are easier and more convenient, but the frozen concentrate form of orange juice is considerably higher in Vitamin C than ready-to-drink orange juice. Also, the concentration of vitamin C in orange pulp is twice that found in the peel and ten times that found in the juice. Eat the pulp and buy high-pulp juice.

Did you know... A low intake of vitamin C can double the risk of hip fracture.

Okay, so I've already stated that oranges and pulpy orange juice is the best way to get your oranges in. But, here's a sugary recipe that reminds me of my childhood. Back in the days before the internet and FoodNetwork and before Todd Wilbur was cloning all kinds of restaurant recipes... back in the '70s when I was a kid... my mom happened upon an Orange Julius clone recipe. I don't know where she got it. You could only get recipes from friends, magazines and cookbooks in those days. Anyway, we went a whole summer making these almost every night. I may have only actually bought an Orange Julius drink at the mall a few times, but I've had this wonderful treat more times than I can count. If you want to make it even healthier, try soy milk or almond milk instead of the cow's milk. And you can probably cut the sugar pretty significantly and it would still be yummy.

Orange Julius
1/2 of 6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate (1/3 C)
1/2 C Milk
1/2 C Water
1/4 C Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
5-6 Ice Cubes

Put everything in a blender and whir till frothy. Enjoy!

One last little tip. There is another chapter in SuperFoods on the wonders of tea. Not herbal teas, but the black, green and white teas we drink all the time as iced teas. We make tea almost every day, and whenever I've just peeled a tangerine or orange, I throw the peel into the iced tea pitcher and brew the tea over it. It lends a subtle citrus flavor and you get some of the anti-oxidants that are plentiful in the peel. You can add even more if you zest it a little first.

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