What’s in Season: Oranges

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

A good orange is the gift that keeps on giving.  Oranges add brightness to the kitchen or dining table, spruce up anything from drinks to braises to cookies, and fill the room with their refreshing scent as soon as their peel is pierced.  They are one of the most popular, available fruits in the world, common to many cultures, from China, where they likely originated, to the Mediterranean, South Africa, Mexico, and beyond.  The United States is the second largest grower worldwide, with California and Florida leading production.  Even right here in coastal and southern Georgia, we can grow fresh local oranges from December to March.

Types and Selection
Depending on the season, your average grocery store will usually carry Valencia or Navel oranges, both sweet varieties rather than sour.  The best fruits tend to be firm, smooth, bright, and heavy; lighter oranges may be dried out.  You may also find the sourer, pinkish Cara Cara oranges or blood oranges slightly later in the season.  We encourage you to try these beautifully colored varieties in desserts, cocktails, and salads – a feast for the eyes and taste buds!  If you don’t normally go for green salads, indulge your sweet tooth and master the art of segmenting oranges with our step-by-step guide to Ambrosia, an old-fashioned fruit salad.

Keep on Juicin’
Most Americans have probably had the good fortune of a delicious glass of fresh orange juice, but juice can also be used to flavor caramel, cakes, poaching liquids, mulled beverages, and frostings.  Orange zest is also a great, easy savory ingredient for the home cook, bringing a tartness that takes on a caramelized, almost smoky taste when cooked into savory preparations.  Both the juice and zest make powerful accents in salad dressings, pastas, marinades, and sauces, notably cranberry and tomato.  You can even make your own citrus-y peach “honey” by boiling down the fruit and preserving it – a great gift idea - in cute little mason jars!

We know they are an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as calcium and other important dietary minerals.  They can also be used in fragrances and to alleviate a range of digestive and skin conditions.

So go buy a big bag and start experimenting with these recipes from the Paula Deen Kitchen:

Main courses

image Orange Glazed Ham Steak. Orange is grated and juiced for a sweet glaze.

imageGrilled Pork Tenderloin with a tasty marinade.

Sweet salads

imageOrange, Strawberry and Date Salad Fresh oranges and strawberries complemented by shallots, tarragon, and buttermilk dressing.

imageCitrus Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing Citrus and poppy seed (a winning combo for a muffin, except healthier, with avocado and arugula)

And for dessert…

imageFresh Fruit Pizza Oranges and other fruit lusciously laid out on sugar cookie dough!



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Reader Comments:


About your article on oranges...when my oldest granddaughter, nine now, was about 4 she went to a day school. I was visiting and had taken her some of the Cutie oranges..very easy to peel, small and no seeds. I showed her how to peel one and we practiced before her Mama sent some to school for her..she inclosed a note for the teacher.."You might have to help Stella start to peel her orange, but she can do it herself. She and my Mama practiced." Needless to say her teacher was very impressed!! Love them, they are small and have never found a sour one in the bag..not available all year long though, which is a shame!! Thanks for the good tips.. EVERYBODY looks GREAT on the cover of Parade!!! Impressed with your progress...MIchael really looks good, know he feels better...good family!!! Bobbye Wiley

By Ms Bobbye Wiley on January 25, 2013


I watch ur show ever day . i learn so much by watching it . Thanks for showing me new ways to cook

By jerri on January 23, 2013

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm