Monday, March 4, 2013

Citrus Season Recipes from Florida

Last week I told you about our foray to the groves to glean the last of the orange crop ahead of some serious weather.  Well, after writing that post, I received a lot of questions about just what our Florida families did with all those oranges that we harvested.  So let me share.

The absolute favorite use of oranges in our area is to eat them fresh or to make our own orange juice.  That’s where maybe 50% of our group’s harvest goes.  We swap with neighbors and bring them to friends.  These old grove oranges are fresh but not as beautiful as store-bought oranges.  But at the same time, they haven’t been doused with chemicals or fertilizer either.  They’re naturally organic, and people love the taste of them. 

A lot the girls are good with preserving, so kitchens in the area are alive with orange marmalade production.  My husband thinks there’s no other jam in the world to match the marvels of marmalade, so this is his time of year!

Among the group, we have plenty of favorite orange chicken recipes.  Families are eating Chinese recipes or South Asian or Florida Cracker recipes for dinner courtesy of our gleaning.  You can find orange chicken, orange pork and orange beef dinners on the stove with mama roasting, sautéing, and even deep frying with oranges this time of year. 

And of course, there are the baked goods.  The girls bake up muffins, cupcakes, pound cake, bundt cakes and layer cakes all made from oranges.  We’ll see tortes and pies, and cookies and candies.  Some of the goodies will be eaten fresh from the oven, and others will be frozen for eating later.    

My favorite use of oranges is in fresh green salads.  I love the sunny feel this combination brings to the table.  I’ll serve them for the family, true; but I’ll also bring them into town and share with the girls at the beauty salon or maybe the folks at the tax accountant’s office during lunch hour.  I’ll bring along a quick bread, a little soup and a fresh salad, and everyone will feel like they’ve been out to lunch for the day.  It’s a simple, small pleasure for all of us.

While I can’t bring you lunch today, I can bring you some new ideas to try.  Here are a few of my favorite green salad recipes which sparkle with the flavor of oranges.


 Mixed Baby Greens with Oranges, Dried Cranberries and Pecans

    1 cup plus 3 tablespoons orange juice
    6 tablespoons dried cranberries
    3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon grated orange peel
    6 cups mixed baby greens
    3 oranges cut into segments – remove peel and pith
    3/4 cup toasted pecans or praline pecans

Simmer 1 cup orange juice in a small, heavy saucepan then remove from heat.
Mix in dried cranberries and let stand until softened—usually around 30 minutes. Drain well; discard juice you soaked them in.
Whisk oil, vinegar, orange peel and the remaining 3 tablespoons orange juice in small bowl. 
Mix in cranberries and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dressing can be made 1 day ahead if covered and refrigerated.  You’ll want to bring the dressing to room temperature before serving.

Assemble Salad

Place greens in large bowl and toss with 2/3rds of the dressing, then plate greens.
Place orange segments into your mixing bowl and toss with remaining dressing.
Top your individual salads with orange segments and toasted or praline pecans and serve. 

Mixed Greens Salad with Fresh Citrus Vinaigrette – Topped with Oranges, Walnuts and Gorgonzola Cheese

    3/4 cup walnut halves
    10 ounces mixed salad greens with arugula
    2 large navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
    1/2 cup sliced red onion
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2/3 cup orange juice
    1/4 cup white sugar
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
    Empty jar with lid


In a large empty jar, mix olive oil, vegetable oil, orange juice, sugar, vinegar, mustard, oregano, and pepper.
Seal jar, and shake to mix.

Assemble Salad:

Over medium heat, roast the walnuts in a small skillet for 5 minutes stirring constantly.  You want the walnuts to be lightly browned.

Add salad greens, oranges, red onion and toasted walnuts into a large bowl and toss. 
Plate salad into salad plates.  Top with Gorgonzola cheese.  Drizzle dressing over top of salad. 

 Citrus – Cilantro Vinaigrette with Salad Greens

Ingredients for Vinaigrette
     1 cup packed cilantro
    1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup lime juice
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    Pinch of minced garlic

Ingredients for Salad
     2 large oranges
    8 cups mixed salad greens
    1 avocado, diced
    1/4 cup slivered red onion
    1/2 cup Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette Dressing

Puree cilantro, oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Assemble Salad

Cut oranges into segments removing both peel and pith. 
In a large bowl, add salad greens, avocado, red onion and vinaigrette.
Toss and plate.
You can store extra dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

 Salad with Oranges, Fennel and Pomegranate

Salad Ingredients
1 head butter or romaine lettuce
3-4 medium oranges
1 large pomegranate, arils removed
  Or purchase packaged arils (seeds)
1 medium to large fennel bulb, thinly sliced

Dressing Ingredients
1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
A pinch sugar


Whisk together vinegar, juice, oil, salt, pepper and sugar.  Place in serving carafe.

Assemble Salad

Wash, dry, and tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces.
Slice oranges into sections, removing the peel and pith.  (Use either orange sections or round slices, whichever you prefer.)
Layer the salad either in serving bowl or on individual plates in the following manner: lettuce, fennel slices, orange, lettuce fennel, orange.  Repeat until all three ingredients have been used. Top with pomegranate arils.
Top with dressing.

Don’t Want to Make Your Own Dressing?  Try this salad:

Assemble salad greens, sliced cucumber, orange slices, sliced green onions and peanuts.  Top with your favorite store-bought ginger dressing.

  Sanne Collins
   From the Ranch in Florida

What’s Been Keeping Me Busy Lately

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  1. Thank you. I am always looking for new salad recipes especially with warm weather coming.

  2. These are some of my favorites - Enjoy!