Facebook’s got a dubious facelift… the recession refuses to ebb. While the world goes bananas, why not soak your spirits in oranges and lemons?!
Ever since citrus fruit burst on the scene some 8000 years ago, our lives have enjoyed extra zest, more punch and a definite kick in the taste buds!
Rumored to have taken root in the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, the tangy family of oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit comes loaded with almost every essential nutrient you can think of: Vitamins C, A and K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus …er…you get the idea!
So what’s not to love?!
As 2012 takes wing, fall in love with ripe, sweet, sharp, piquant fruit. If you’ve got the zest, I’ve got just the right ideas to help you juice it to the max!
Before you cut and squeeze an orange or lemon, peel off their colored outer flesh in thin wide strips, or lightly grate it. This lovely greenish-yellow zest contains scented essential oils that will impart an incredible flavor to your cookies, cakes and salads.
Take care! Don’t slice too deep or grate too hard, or you’ll land up with bitter white pith.
Lemon zest + finely chopped parsley + garlic = sensational stew or soup. Sprinkle over minutes before serving.
Lemon zest + Olive oil + oregano = salad with a Greek zing
Orange zest + grated chocolate = cake with a tangy kick.
Orange zest + lemon zest + buttery breadcrumbs = tasty crust for fish or lamb
See Also: Best of 2011: 200 Ways to Use 10 Items
Oil With a Punch
This fabulous oh-so-easy to make citrus oil is the best way to preserve the citrus flavour. Use it in dressings, to drizzle over grills and even to make cakes and mayonnaise.
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil or Rice bran oil
Zest of 2 Oranges
Zest of 6 lemons
Place zest in a sterilzed bottle. Pour in the Olive oil. Cover tightly and leave for a week.
Add Mmm…to Your Marmalade
Don’t get jammed up with plain marmalade on toast (though I love that, too). Spread the good stuff over roasted chicken for a lovely glaze, or on your cookies and muffins for that sweet, moist touch.
Did you Know? The word ‘orange’ comes from a transliteration of the Sanskrit naranga which comes from the Tamil naru which means ‘fragrant’
Orange Ginger Juice
4 oranges, peeled
2 carrots, scrubbed
1 piece of ginger
Pass everything through a juicer and serve with a few curls of grated ginger to garnish.
The Royal Way to Enjoy Juice: Sip it with champagne. This suggestion comes to you from none other than Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who believes ‘that the orange improves the champagne, and the champagne improves the orange.’ (Rather like a perfect marriage, no?)
Here hangs in shades the orange bright
Like golden lamps in a green light…
– Andrew Marvell
Make Your Salsa Sing!
Chop up two ripe oranges. Mix with two diced tomatoes, one minced jalapeno pepper, a twist of lime and a sprinkling of coriander leaves. Enjoy chilled, with warm couscous and roasted veggies.
The Big Squeeze
Juice your oranges and lemons to the max. Two simple ways to do it:
- Roll citrus fruit around on a cutting board or chakla, pressing down firmly with the palm of your hand (particularly useful for limes, which can be hard to squeeze).
- Warm the fruit gently: drop it into a pan of hot water, pop it into the microwave for a few seconds, or put it in an oven for a minute or two.
Once squeezed, fresh citrus juice should be used the same day to reap its lively benefits.
Orange Parsley Salad
3 cups Orange segments
½ cup flat leaf Parsley
1 cup fresh cottage cheese (paneer), cubed
1 tbsp red chillies sliced
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine everything in a large bowl. Toss well and chill until ready to serve.
Make It Even Fresher: Oranges combine beautifully with vegetables to yield intriguing salads. Toss a few sections of the fruit with thinly sliced cucumbers and onions, and serve over salad leaves.
Serve it With More Style: How about using the orange itself as a bowl for this salad? Just slice off the top and scoop out the shell. Spoon the salad into the orange, and you’ve got a flaming natural container!