Buying Fruit in Season: California Navel Oranges are In!

By Brandizzi CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
I live in FL, so navel oranges are nothing new to me, but our navels don't hold a candle to California navels. California navel season is pretty short -- about a month -- so I savor them while I can get them. Last week they were $.99 a lb. at Publix, and I wish I had bought more, but I only got 5. This week, they had gone up to $1.29 so I got 4, but I may go back and get more. I love how easy they are to peel, and speaking of peels, I actually love eating the peels of these yummy oranges, which is actually very healthy. According to
The peel contains more than four times as much fiber as the fruit inside, and more tangeretin and nobiletin—flavonoids with anticancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2004 study on animals suggests that these nutrients may even reduce harmful LDL cholesterol better than some prescription drugs.

How to eat it: Grate and sprinkle zest on green beans or asparagus. For dessert, simmer strips in simple syrup and cover in melted dark chocolate.
I also sometimes make them into orange rind candy, which is so yummy you can't believe it!

I am a big believer of eating fruits in season, not just because they are cheaper, but because they are healthier. They don't have to be shipped thousands of miles to get to you (well, the California navels do, but I make exceptions for them), so they retain more of their nutrients. Here in FL, we have so many wonderful tropical fruits that are much cheaper than in other parts of the country, and many of them are easy to grow as well.

While many of you are under inches or feet of snow, I know it's hard to think about fresh fruit, but make a plan for summer. Find out what fruits are in season at what times in your area, and try some you've never tried before. And don't forget frozen fruit! Frozen food is actually more nutritious than fresh food, because it is packed so quickly after it is harvested, so try some frozen fruit this winter.


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