you are what you eat
South African fresh produce shelves are quickly filling up with some the most delicious, nutritious fruits of the season. One of these fruits being the citrus range. With such a wide variety of citrus fruits available, there is no reason not to snack on something healthy! Not only are they juicy and delicious, but citrus fruits are packed with fibre and vitamin c, to help beat the winter cold! We are lucky because as a country, South Africa produces tons of lime, lemons, oranges, pomello’s, grapefruits, mineola’s etc. You name it and South African grows it! For me, this is one of the highlights of the season!Well-known for their vitamin C content, these fruits provide energy, fiber, folate and potassium. They are also good sources of disease-fighting antioxidants called flavonoids.
Little Naartjie’s and easy peeled oranges are the perfect snack. They stay well at the desk (add a bit of colour to your office too) and don’t get so crushed in the school bag or lunchbox either! They travel well, can easily be cut into quarters for childrens’ snacks! Oranges are a source of carbohydrate and contain B vitamins for that extra energy boost; the ideal replacement for power drinks and chocolate bars! Combine oranges with apples and strawberries to make delicious and nutritious fruit salads!
Don’t you just hate when you cut an apple or pear and it goes brown?
When fresh fruits and vegetables are peeled or cut open, the enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (also called tyrosinase) contained in the cells is exposed to and reacts with the oxygen in the air. This reaction is called oxidation. The bruising seen on some fruit, such as apples and pears, is caused by the same type of reaction. When preparing fruits and vegetables for use, an anti-browning solution should be used to prevent them from turning brown.Citrus fruits contains citric acid which help to prevent browning by brushing the surface of the fruit with juice from citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. Lemon juice is often used for this purpose.
Citrus also adds a sophisticated flavour to seafood, salads, poultry dishes, stir fry’s and sauces too! Use the zest of a lemon or lime in drinks, salads or stir fry’s. Zest can also be used in baking or desserts to add that extra bit of flavour whether sweet or savoury. The skin of fruit contain volatile and aromatic oils which add a tangy- floral- bitter taste to dishes. I always zest the skin of citrus fruits before i half them to be used as juice. The zest together with the juice adds presence to food both visually and texturally! Zest is the outer peel of a fruit without removing the bitter white peel below.
I love the smell of a lime. I am often spotted smelling a lime (even a lemon) before I buy! I love taking in the aromatic scent of limes! We all use limes to make drinks, but lime zest and juice can be used in a pesto’s and asian inspired dishes like thai green curry and tom yum soup too! Make this pesto in bulk, freeze in ice trays and use when needed:
Coriander Lime Pesto
– 2 cups of washed and drained Coriander
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1/4 cup of dry roasted macadamia nuts
– 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
– Juice and Zest of 1 fresh lime
– 1 Tablespoon of olive oil or macadamia oil
– 1 small red chilli
Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth. Serve fresh as a dip, use in asian dishes or as a marinade for fish or chicken. The extra can be frozen in ice trays to use later.
Oranges make the most perfect post- dinner dessert! The best way for the body to absorb Iron, is to have a vitamin C rich fruit or vegetables together with an iron rich food. So have your Steak followed by 1/2 a large orange, or a small naartjie. All you have to do is have them washed and ready to cut! Using a paring knife, remove the skin of an orange. Then gently cut through the segments, leaving the white, skins behind. Use this on top of salads and desserts!
Refreshing Orange Dessert (makes enough for 6):
– 5 peeled and cored oranges (just like the picture above)
– 3 strawberries, cut into rounds or chunks
– Once you have removed the orange segments, squeeze the juice to get any juice out. Reserve this for later
In a saucepan boil:
– 2 Tablespoons of castor sugar
– 2- 3 pieces of cinnamon sticks
– 1 star anise
– 1/2 cup water
Boil the syrup until the sugar has dissolved and the water has boiled enough to get the syrup nicely fragranced. Cool down and refrigerate.
Orange segments, orange juice, cooled cinnamon- star anise syrup in a large bowl. Garnish with strawberry pieces and serve chilled.
My husbands favourite juice is fresh orange and grapefruit. I use 3 oranges to 1 grapefruit. Try to keep juice servings to 1/2 a cup at a time!
Include a squeeze of fresh orange juice when marinating salmon. This is a delicious way to marinate any fish (enough for 120g of salmon):
Orange soy fish marinade:
– 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
– 2T low sodium soy sauce
– freshly ground black pepper
– 1 tap honey
– Orange zest
Mix all the ingredients and marinate the fish for an hour. Grill over a hot grill pan or bake in the oven till cooked.
Oranges or minerals are perfect in a salad. One of my favourite winter salads is this orange and beetroot salad. It is so easy and quick to make- full of essential vitamins and minerals.
You will need:
Orange, Beetroot Salad
– 1 cup rocket and watercress mixed
– 1 cup cubed (large or small cubes) beetroot (already boiled)
– The segments from 2 oranges
– 1 ring of reduced fat danish feta
– 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
– balsamic vinegar and good olive oil
– Freshly ground black pepper
To assemble this salad is super easy! All you have to do is mix all the ingredients. Top with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.