Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
Orange belts are for karate, eating oranges is for BJJ.
Ever go to the grocery store and find yourself confused when all you simply need to do is buy some oranges? That is because you think you are in the right spot because “hey, these look like oranges but why are they called something else?” Well that is because there are multiple different varieties of oranges on the market at any given time. Grappler Gourmet is an equal opportunity reviewer but not all oranges should be treated equally. In this weeks review I will be providing a crash course on the different types of oranges, how to tell them apart, and what they are best used for so that way when you find yourself in the citrus section at the store tomorrow you will be walking around like you just got your blue belt. I hope you enjoy this week’s guide to oranges!
What is an orange?
Oranges are well, orange colored fruits belonging to the citrus family. They are packed with vitamin C and I am sure if you played any little league sport, or generally have been a human being for any part of your life you have had an orange or know what an orange is. Or do you? What is the difference between a naval orange and a blood orange? Hint: blood oranges are not full of blood.
Oranges are the most popular fruit and widely viewed as the most “healthy” because hey, what’s the key to a balanced breakfast? It sure as hell is not a glass of fresh squeezed lime juice Ill tell you that right now, it’s orange juice. Oranges come in two different flavor profiles so it is important to understand what you are buying. The different spectrums are “Bitter” and “Sweet.” You can see how that can cause a problem. Expecting a sweet orange and getting a bitter orange is like catching a foot to the head from the group rolling next to you. You never expect it and man what a shock. Knowing the difference between the varieties will help you prepare your foods accordingly and ultimately enjoy life a little bit more because you are eating better tasting foods while understanding them. Knowledge is power!
Selecting the Right Orange
There are a few keys to pay attention to when selecting the best oranges, follow them and you will have the cream of the crop every time!
- Don’t be fooled by the color. Bright orange color is actually not a key to a perfect orange. The color actually does not matter at all. Brown/green oranges can be just as ripe as full blown orange…oranges. So follow the other keys first. Yes you just got Tarantino’d.
- Eat with your eyes. Do you see any traces of mold? If so, keep moving to the next orange.
- Get your grips. Now that we have eyed up our mouths training partner get your grips. If the orange has nice and smooth skin along with a firmer texture this is a good sign.
- Check your weight. We are obsessive about our own weight sometimes and we should be with our oranges. The best oranges are the ones that feel heavier than they appear. This means they are full of juice!
- Size does matter. Bigger is not always better. Smaller oranges tend to be the juicer of oranges.
Oranges will last up to 2 weeks safely under refrigeration or out at room temperature. Do not stress over where you keep your oranges, the only key is, don’t wrap them up. By covering oranges and all other citrus you are eliminating air flow and enabling moisture to build up which is exactly what mold needs to grow. You selected a non-moldy orange, don’t fuck it up.
Orange juice and/or zest can be kept longer but should be refrigerated. You can even freeze orange juice in a ice cube tray for easy smoothie work.
Most Common Oranges
Now that you know how to pick and store your oranges it is crucial to know which ones you want to apply your new skills to. Oranges vary in their uses so know the right orange is crucial, you don’t try to choke your opponents arm, you choke his/her neck, why is that? Because you understand how to use submission ingredients in the recipe of roll, the same applies to normal cooking and oranges.
- How to Identify: The easiest way to ID a Naval orange is by looking at the “button.” It will be located on the opposite end of the stem side which is a clear give away that you are looking at a Naval.
- Best used for: Due to their flavor and the fact that they are seedless they are the ideal eating orange.
- Flavor: Sweet like candy baby!
- Season: November – May
- How to Identify: A variety of Naval oranges so their appearance is the same, but only goes skin deep. Once you look inside the flesh has a more pinkish red color to it.
- Best used for: They are good for eating straight up but even better in a nice salad because of the bitter element.
- Flavor: Super sweet but has a bit of bitter tang to them similar to a cranberry.
- Season: December – April
- How to Identify: Close your eyes and imagine an orange…Yep that’s a Valencia. Thinner skinned and ranging more on the small-medium size these really look the part of the stereotypical orange. Also known as a “juice orange.”
- Best used for: Juice. Because of the seeds along with a grainy texture you do not want to eat a Valencia straight up, which is funny because these are the most commonly found oranges thus people will buy them to eat.
- Flavor: Sweet with a little tartness. So exactly what you would imagine orange juice tastes like because well, most all orange juice comes from Valencia oranges.
- Season: February – October
- How to Identify: Smaller thick skinned oranges that you will notice might have a little red hue to the outside. I like to describe the skin as being “burnt orange.” But you will really see why they are called blood oranges once you cut one open to review the vivid red interior of deliciousness.
- Best used for: pairing with foods rather than eating straight up. They lend very well to a meal because they have a unique taste.
- Flavor: more tart than sweet. Some even consider blood oranges to be the most tart of oranges.
- Season: January – April
Fun Fact: Because of the carotene that gives blood oranges their colors they are a very powerful antioxidant.
- How to Identify: Cuties! (which actually are not typical Clementines.) Clementine’s look like very small oranges but have a glossy smooth texture to their skin.
- Best used for: On-The-Go eating straight out of hand, easy to peel, seedless and delicious.
- Flavor: Sweet and lack any trace amounts of acidity that you normally find in oranges.
- Season: November – January
- How to Identify: Very close to clementine’s and often mistaken for them. Tangerines are a little larger and the major visual difference is the skin texture. Tangerines have a more pocked look. Think of their skin looking more like an old man’s, big pores, kind of withered looking and soft. No offence to any old men out there, I am becoming one myself.
- Best used for: On-The-Go eating out of hand. They do have seeds and thicker pith than clementines. They also tend to be juicier than clementines.
- Flavor: similar to a Clementine but more tart and “juicy” tasting.
- Season: October – April
Typically since oranges range from sweet to bitter on the flavor spectrum you want to pair accordingly. Save the bitter oranges for making jams, jellies and marmalades. As for most of the other oranges here are some key ingredients that work universally.
Ingredients: basil, brandy, chipotle peppers, chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, ginger, Grand Marnier, mangoes, olives, pecans, sherry, strawberries and vanilla.
We all can benefit from a healthy dose of vitamin C throughout our day and I am not talking about the early 2000’s pop singer’s greatest hits. Oranges are very readily available, easy to carry around because they have their own protective skin and do not require refrigeration. They are packed with good sugars that will give you the boost you might need to finish out your day and get on the mats. But the last thing you want to do is bite into a bitter orange when you are expecting a sweet treat before training. Now that you have this guide and can go out and apply the knowledge you have gained and never again be fooled by those orange little bastards! If you are living under a rock and cannot get oranges or just don’t want to eat them, head over to Q5 Sports nutrition and get some Warrior Orange, at check out use GOURMET10 for 10% OFF your entire order! Also quit fooling yourself about not needing a new gi. Hit up Inverted Gear with grapplergourmet for 10% OFF. But most importantly, remember to eat well, train hard. OSS.