Florida Food Fareby Jean Meadows and Mary Jo OswaldFamily & Consumer SciencesUniversity of Florida / IFASSarasota County ExtensionNavel OrangesDescription: The fruit of the navel orange differs from other sweet orangecultivars because of the secondary or even tertiary fruit at the blossom end withinthe primary fruit, thus forming the "navel." This large fruit has a bright deepyellow to orange, pebbly skin that is thick and easy to peel. It is a seedlessvariety (having 0 – 6 seeds), sections well, and is larger than most other sweetorange varieties. It is an excellent eating orange and the fruit tends to be lowerin acid content than most orange varieties.History: The navel sweet orange probably originated in China many years agobut botanists refer to it as early as 1646. Navel oranges were being grown inFlorida before 1835, but the trees were destroyed by soldiers during the firstSeminole War.Availability: Often called the "holiday" orange because of when it matures, thenavel orange is ripe from November – January. This makes it available forThanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Depending on the weather in laterJanuary navel oranges begins to dry out and even if available later they willusually not be of good quality.Selection and Care: Select oranges that are firm and heavy, which is a sign ofjuicy fruit. Cold weather causes fruit to develop a bright orange color, so theseoranges may be ripe and still have a greenish tinge on the skin. Oranges foundin the market are sanitized by a washing process and treated with a thin coat ofedible wax. Those coming directly out of the grove may not have had this
process. If they have not been washed and waxed then you should not washthem until ready to use. Washing removes the natural preservative on the skinand will cause faster deterioration. The wax coating retards spoilage. Orangesshould be stored in the refrigerator 3-4 weeks between 50-60 degrees F. Thejuice of the navel orange is not desirable for processing or freezing due to thebitterness caused by limonine.Nutritional Value: Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and containsome Vitamin A. Once cut or squeezed, however, the vitamin C quickly beginsto dissipate. After only 24 hours in the refrigerator, there is a 20% vitamin C loss,thus fresh squeezed orange juice is the most nutritious. One whole navel orange,about 3" in diameter contains: 1 g protein, 11.6 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g dietaryfiber, 65 mg calcium, 283 mg potassium, 26 mg phosphorus, 340 IU vitamin A,105 mg vitamin C and 86% water.Use & Preparation: Navel oranges are great for holiday menus, either preparedwith other foods or cut in decorative ways for fresh eating. Here are someholiday favorites.Recipes:Southern Ambrosia2 grapefruit, preferably 1 white 1/2 cup coconutand 1 red1 cup strawberry halves2 bananas 1 apple, chopped6 navel oranges 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnutsSection citrus fruit. Peel and slice apple into small chunks. Add immediately tocitrus sections to prevent darkening. Peel and slice bananas. Add all ingredientstogether in a large bowl. Toss gently until well blended. Chill before serving; atleast 4 hours or overnight is best to blend the flavors.Sweet Potatoes in Orange Shells3 large oranges 1/4 cup light brown sugar2 cup mashed sweet potatoes 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup raisins, optional1/2 teaspoon nutmegCut oranges in half crosswise carefully removing pulp in sections. Save peel fororange shells. Add salt, sugar, raisins and spices to mashed sweet potatoes.Mix in 1 C orange sections and juice. Pile back in orange shells. Place shells in
muffin tins to hold shape and place in 300 degrees F. oven until hot and lightlybrown, about 25 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.Citrus Shells: Score fruit around middle with knife point, or use reamed halves.Edges can be notched with scissors.Spinach and Orange Salad1/2 cup orange juice 2 oranges, rinsed, peeled, and2 tablespoons olive oil cut into sections3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced½ teaspoon black pepper1/4 cup chopped pecans or slivered6 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and torn Almonds (optional)Combine the first 4 ingredients in mixing bowl and set aside. In large mixingbowl, combine spinach, orange sections, and onions. Add dressing to salad andtoss. Top with nuts if desired. Serves 6.Citrus Slaw3 cups shredded cabbage 1/2 cup seedless raisins4 oranges, peeled and sliced (save ½ cup low fat mayonnaiseJuice)Place cabbage in salad bowl. Cut orange slices into quarters and add with raisinsto cabbage. Blend mayonnaise with orange juice from sections; add to cabbagemixture and mix well. Chill. Makes 6-8 servings.