Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was at Trader Joe's the other day and spied a bag of cheap organic oranges. I'm not a huge fan of oranges and don't think about them much - but for some reason was drawn to that bag like a hungry cat to a bowl of plump juicy mice. I'm thinking it might have something to do with spring training - if I can't be in Florida and in the dugout with Yogi and Ron, I'll pretend with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice every morning.

It's always a crap shoot for me when I buy oranges because I have no idea what variety is good for juicing - I do it so infrequently. The bag I bought didn't even have the variety on it - it just said "oranges." Sometimes I hit it right and sometimes I definitely don't.

Well I hit it right with this bag because the oranges were juicy and delicious - whatever they were. It prompted me to finally go on line and find out how to buy a decent squeezing orange. I found out that the sweet varieties are usually more fragrant and include Valencia, Navel and Jaffa oranges. I also found out a little about the history and health benefits.

The orange plant is a native of Southeast Asia dating back almost 7000 years - some historians believe that it was grown in the orchards of China by the beginning of the 1st century millennium.  Persian traders introduced the orange to Europe - the Roman empire specifically - who developed orchards in North Africa.  The orange was then introduced to the Americas by Spanish explorers and conquerors and established orchards in South America. Today Brazil is the leading producer of oranges accounting for almost half of the world's total production of oranges.

Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid (one orange (130 grams) supplies nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C), folic acid, vitamin B6, flavonoids, pectin and dietary fiber. Besides, it also contains a significant amount of minerals like potassium salt, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, etc. An orange packs over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, many of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clot inhibiting properties, as well as strong antioxidant effects.

It can be an immense help in dealing with many ailments boomers like me seem to talk about 90 percent of the time these days - high blood pressure, hardening of arteries, constipation, heart disease and stomach ulcers.

I swear I can feel the difference already after just one week - at least I think I can.

Oranges • 8" x 8" acrylic on paper • $100

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