Oranges - Nature's Gift

Oranges are among mother nature's finest gifts. Just one medium-size orange can provide almost your entire day's need for vitamin C. In fact, oranges are the main source of vitamin C for most Americans. 


An orange will also provide three grams of dietary fiber, including soluble fiber, as well as folate, potassium, calcium, and magnesium-all for about only 60 calories. 


The white membrane under the skin holds more vitamin C than the flesh. It also contains much of the pectin, the type of soluble fiber thought to help lower cholesterol. 


Oranges also contain health-promoting flavonoids and terpenes, which appear to help fight off cancer. Adding orange zest or peel to cooked dishes will boost your intake of some of these cancer-crushing compounds. 


Shopping Tips: Choose firm oranges that are heavy for their size, as heavier oranges have more juice inside. In general, smaller oranges are sweeter than the largest ones. Minor blemishes on the skin do not affect the quality inside. 


Oranges are picked ripe and ready to eat. In fact, state laws regulate the point at which an orange is considered mature. 


Don't Rely on Color: Color is not a good indication of quality; color depends on the climate where the orange was grown. Cool nights, such as those in California, produce orange oranges. 


With warm nights found in Florida, oranges may be tinged with green. Under certain growing conditions the ripe fruit will begin to turn green again-and may actually be sweeter. Some Florida oranges may have a vegetable dye added to the skin to enhance their appearance. If so, "Color Added" must be stamped on the shipping container or affixed to the crate. 


Orange Juice: Americans consume most of their oranges in the form of juice, which provides a substantial amount of vitamin C, along with potassium and folate. But juice contains very little fiber.