Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Orange

I love to eat fruit. In fact, the second I hear about a nutritional program that limits my consumption of peaches, blueberries, apples and bananas, I say, "Not for me." Fruit is one of life's gifts. Handy morsels of different sizes, colors, shapes and textures, packed with flavor and nourishment. So easy to grab on the run, quenching hunger and even thirst. Nope. I would never make it one day on the fruit restrictive Atkins or Southbeach diets.

Just last August I was walking down the Ausable Road in Keene Valley, NY after a long hike up Gothics Mountain in the Adirondacks. I had run out of water and would have given up a snowfall in December for a sip of something, anything. Then I remembered I had grapes in my backpack. I pulled out the baggie full of purple delicacies and popped them in my mouth, one by one. As I bit into them, juice spurt out and trickled down my throat -- an absolute moment in heaven.

One fruit that has sadly been edited off my grocery list, however, is the orange. It's too much work. Trying to spear my thumb nails through the thick skin, picking off the excess white strings (pith), biting into the slices then wondering what to do with the seeds in the center and the sticky finger aftermath -- all too much. I forgot to mention how the juice dribbles down my chin and sometimes onto my shirt. It also leaves quite a mess on the kitchen counter. Yes, I gave up that sweet burst of orange zest in my mouth because it took too much time and effort. But, what else did I give up? First this lovely kitchen display:

And the nutrients. An orange has 45mg of vitamin C, 75% of the RDA for adults -- take that colds and flu. It contains lots of other good for us stuff and is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but is rich in the dietary fiber, pectin, which is very effective in helping persons with excess body weight, lose it. Oranges are also high in antioxidants, which neutralize the effects of free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules in your body, believed to cause aging and some diseases.  I'm sold. The orange is back on my grocery list. Just check out some other benefits of oranges by clicking here:

My kick back activity for the week will be to sit down with an orange each day. Take the time to peel it, put it in a bowl -- maybe one with a floral design -- savor every bite and that incredible aroma. Along with all that, I'll relish the wonders it is doing for my body. By the way, the most popular seedless oranges available in the U.S.A. are the naval and Valencia varieties. One of those will be my choice since I really don't like seeds swimming around my mouth as I try to chew the orange slice then having to spit them out before I swallow. I'll take care of the sticky orange aftermath with applejack liquid soap and warm water -- not such a bad thing.

Kick back and join me for a week, or a lifetime, of eating oranges. Stay young, stay healthy, stay fit. And I bet the extra time it takes to eat this fruit was planned just to get us roadrunners to slow down a little and enjoy the moment.

Kick Back Song of the Week:

While you pamper yourself with an orange experience, enjoy a little music. One of my favorites, Orange Colored Sky by sung by Natalie Cole:

Kick Back Book of the Week:

The Great Citrus Book by Chef Allen Susser has 38 unique recipes that include citrus fruit. It also has lots of fun facts about oranges, lemons and limes. Chef Allen is one of the inventors of New World Cuisine and owner of Chef Allen's Modern Seafood Grill in Miami, FL. Click below to see him demonstrate how to make an orange mojito and orange peppercorn:

A Little Something Extra:

I had to share this recipe for orange lemonade. It makes me want to jump into a hot summer day by a pool with this drink in my hand:


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