VeganMoFo: Citrus

6 Oct

Today I’m going to talk a little about citrus – oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines.  Citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C and flavanoids, which have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.  One flavanone in oranges, herperadin, has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in studies.  Citrus juice contains a high quantity of citric acid giving them their characteristic tart flavor.  A benefit of eating the whole fruit over the juice is fiber; one orange alone provides 12.5% of the daily value for fiber.  All that fiber ensures that the fruit is digested more slowly, and you stay full for longer.

My favorite way to eat citrus, and the easiest, obviously, is plain.  Clementines are my favorite to snack on, since they’re so easy to peel and eat.  Tangerines, oranges or grapefruit are a great addition to fruit salad.  I like to segment them so that you don’t get any of the membrane, and you can squeeze out any remaining juice to use as salad dressing.  If you don’t know how to segment citrus, here’s a little slideshow.  It’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it.

I wouldn’t recommend a lot of fruit juice in general because it’s kind of like a sugar delivery system to your bloodstream (plus you don’t get that fiber I mentioned above), BUT citrus juices are a fantastic addition to a green juice, if you’re going to juice.  With certain types of juicers, you can just toss the whole thing in.  Lemon makes a nice addition to almost any combination, and I really like an orange-fennel juice.  Green Ginger Ale is a light, flavorful drink that’s not too sweet.

If a dish you’re cooking tastes flat and needs a little brightness, just add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.  If you really want the flavor of the citrus to shine through, add some zest as well.  A microplane zester is the perfect tool for this.  If you’re going to use the zest, be sure to buy organic.

Citrus juice and zest can both be preserved.  To keep citrus juice, freeze it in an ice cube tray then pop the cubes into a freezer-quality ziploc bag.  To dry citrus peel, just cut or tear the peel off into long strips.  Leave the strips out for a few days in a warm, dry place, until stiff and dried.  Store the dried peel at room temperature in a moisture-proof bag or container.  The peel can be used as potpourri, or ground and used as a spice in food.

Sources:
Wikipedia – Citrus
WH Foods:  Lemon/Lime
WH Foods:  Oranges

Thursday, 10/6/11

breakfast – one slice sprouted wheat toast with 1/4 cup eggplant hummus and three slices hickory smoked tofurky
AM snack – strawberries, coffee with soy creamer
lunch – Summer Sucotash Quesadillas with Nacho Mmmm Sauce, sugar snap peas
PM snack – 1/4 cup omega trek mix
dinner – salad (lettuce, bell peppers, carrot, fat-free balsamic vinaigrette, bacon flavored chips), sweet potato noodles with raw chai-spiced alfredo sauce

exercise – ran 2.6 miles (32 minutes), 10 minutes walking

daily points used:  29
activity points earned:  7

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One Response to “VeganMoFo: Citrus”

  1. Ames Funds October 7, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Hey, Erin! I did WW too and am trying to get back on the wagon. Congrats on being a chef now. Unsurprising, considering how great a cook you’ve always been. :)

    Amy

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