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Twelve pounds of oranges... now what?

Yes, we received twelve pounds of Navel oranges (holiday gift), and we love oranges, but they're all here at once and I'm concerned about using them all. I usually buy, say, three oranges a week and that does us fine. So, a couple of questions:

1) How long will they keep in the refrigerator--and is that the best way to keep them the longest?

2) Christmas is done, and it's time to cut back on the sweets around here, so, other than a batch of breakfast muffins, or two, I really don't want to make dessert-y things with them. And we don't drink orange juice. I can section a couple of them and use them in a salad, and make some cranberry-orange sauce, but neither of those every night, and maybe I'll make some Chicken a L'Orange, but can anyone suggest some other savory dishes? I know what I'm going to do with the peels, but...the meat of so many oranges? Thanks if you can help.

(I should add, I still have a bunch of Clementines I was worried about using before the oranges arrived. And no room in the freezer right now for more finished products.)

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  1. How about keeping a pound or two for your family and giving the rest to a local food bank or soup kitchen?

    4 Replies
    1. re: garlicvampire

      If I'm lucky enough to have extras after Christmas, I take them to work. Co-workers are so sick of the sight of sugary things that the oranges are snatched up at once; the deal is that they have to give me back the peels (the oranges I get aren't dyed & make great candied peel). If you don't have greedy co-workers, almost any citrus juice makes a good marinade, & orange slices placed on pork chops before they go into the oven keep the meat juicy, add flavor & look quite pretty when browned.

      1. re: mshenna

        That's a good, simple idea re the pork chops, m. I've got plenty of those in the freezer.

        How do you know if the peels aren't dyed? Would the label state it? These are Sunkist.

        1. re: Steady Habits

          I think they usually are -- the dyes are said to be harmless & in making candied orange peel, for example, you'd be boiling the peels a few times anyhow, but ... .

          Anyhow, the ones someone sends me each year are not dyed, & you can certainly tell -- there are greenish spots, pale areas (maybe those were in shadow?), etc.

          With the pork chops, you probably wouldn't eat a whole lot of peel anyhow.

      2. re: garlicvampire

        I have two local foodbanks that I take food to regularly, garlic, and I *want* to give to them, every chance I get, but they don't take perishables. A soup kitchen would probably take them, though? Maybe one of our churches around here runs one.

        But, to tell you the truth, I don't mind getting all this fiber, Vitamin C and the minerals into my family's bodies. My guys are good about eating their veggies, but very bad about eating fruit. So it's a golden opportunity if I can find some savory recipes.

      3. Marmalade. It will last a while, and a beautiful jar of marmalade with scones, makes a very nice gift. Marmalade can be used in a whole lot of different ways by the way. That'd be my thought. Nice problem to have!

        5 Replies
        1. re: chef chicklet

          Well, you're right about that, chef--the disciplined half of me says it's better than receiving twelve pounds of chocolate on top of all the indulgences we've been snacking on since Thanksgiving. (The hedonist half of me says, hmmm, some chocolate would go really nicely with those oranges!)

          I do like marmalade, and use it often enough myself in poultry and pork recipes. The oranges and clementines would make a good marmalade, together, right?

          1. re: Steady Habits

            Oranges and clementines would make a very nice marmalade. As for the earlier question about how you can tell whether the peels have been dyed or not, I don't have an answer. A lot of the oranges on the market are dyed because even when ripe they sometimes have a green blush and consumers won't go for them. The naval oranges from our orange grove at our retreat house in Redlands, California, though, had good color without dying. So I'd suggest you contact Sunkist and ask. And ask what kind of dye is used. In theory, they are all food grade, like the food color in cake icing. I'd be rather more concerned about scrubbing off wax and pesticide.

            1. re: Father Kitchen

              I will email Sunkist. Thanks for the suggestion. The oranges I can find around here have been generally much less appealing in the last year or so than I remember them ever being. I don't mind the green patches so much, because I know that that is natural to certain varieties even when ripe. But, too many fruits with these really sinister looking blemishes all over the fruit, like a skin disease, and underweight for their size, when you pick them up. So, to get these nice oranges *was* a blessing. I always scrub/wash fruits thoroughly. I'm not actually convinced that can get rid of the pesticide residues, but, fortunately, my primary store seems to have done away with *most* wax, due to customer preference.

          2. re: chef chicklet

            So I just got another load of citrus from a neighbor. I am looking at marmalade recipes, they seem to call for a LOT of sugar... Do you have a recommendation on ratio of fruit to sugar?

            1. re: firecooked

              The sugar helps preserve the marmalade, so if you're going to can it, it's best to stick with the amount of sugar called for. If you're making "refrigerator jam" (a small batch to keep in the fridge and use right away) you can cut back a bit.

          3. My grandmother always made what she called ambrosia. It was just sections of oranges, section over bowl so you catch all the juice, and coconut. I think she added sugar if her oranges weren't sweet enough. I make it sometimes for my family and the kids really enjoy it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: alliedawn_98

              Yum. Ambrosia. Waldorf Salad is okay, but I never understood why it gets so much more attention, when there's Ambrosia in the world, allie. ;-) I don't know whether my guys would eat it, but...might be nice for *my* breakfast! (Lunch, dinner, a.m. snack, p.m. snack, etc....)

              1. re: alliedawn_98

                I remember it well, and we still eat it. In fact, I made some last night. It is wonderful for breakfast or with a piece of fruitcake (yes, my wife makes wonderful fruitcake). My mother added shredded coconut and maraschino cherries, but I just make straight orange sections as devoid as possible of the white selvage. Keeps nicely in refrigerator

              2. I've made preserved oranges from my preserved lemon recipe, and thrown in a few cloves. Comes out great, isn't sweet and uses both the rind and the juice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dockhl

                  Excellent idea re the cloves, dockhl. Thanks. I prefer to have some options that aren't sweet, as you suggest.

                  I have a fabulous--wonderful--recipe for plum conserves with orange rind, cinnamon and cloves, and walnuts, but it's not the right time of the year to get decent plums. I know I can freeze some of the rind for that purpose, but I don't know whether it will keep quite that long, until plums come into season again.

                2. I made an orange glazed salmon a few years ago that I liked. I don't remember what recipe I used, but there are many if you search the internet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cheesepowder

                    TY, cheesepowder. I normally try to serve salmon once a week. That's gone a little bit by the wayside with the holiday chowing, but the fish will be back on the menu now, and I'll plan on the oranges with it. (Once upon a time I had a really nice recipe for grapefruit glazed salmon. If I can locate it, I'm sure the oranges would substitute perfectly well.)

                  2. I like to make a salad of spinach or other greens (arugula, mustard greens, whatever looks good at the market), sliced oranges, and thinly sliced red onion. With the oranges in there, you don't even need to dress it, though a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of a lemon or half an orange helps. And lots of black pepper. This is one of my favorite winter salads.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: jlafler

                      What about escarole, j? I bought a beautiful head of it yesterday and want to use it for dinner tomorrow night with veal chops. Would that be a good salad accompaniment? (I can be flexible on the veal preparation to accommodate the salad.)

                      1. re: Steady Habits

                        Escarole should work fine in the salad; you could always do a small taste test to check if the flavors blend well. I'm not sure about the veal, since I don't eat it often. (I don't boycott it, I've just never much cared for it.)

                        1. re: jlafler

                          I like its versatility, as with chicken or pork, but even for those of us who *do* like veal, it's difficult to find good quality veal. I got lucky with these chops, but, all in all, if you don't care for it, I don't think you're missing much these days. It's one of those things I generally reserve now for dinners out, since better restaurants I think have much better sources than we do.

                    2. I can't believe I forgot to suggest making liqueur.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jlafler

                        Juice. A pitcher of freshly squeezed juice will probably disappear quickly in the fridge. Very healthy too, and the fiber is great for you.

                        ETA- just read closer... If you like oranges though, I do not know how you can not love the juice...

                        1. re: Becca Porter

                          I dunno, Becca. It's not that I, at least, don't like the flavor of o.j. We just don't drink fruit juices. Mostly water, coffee and tea.

                          (Although I do like a little o.j. combined with carbonated water during the warm weather.)

                      2. How about making a Swiss Muesli. Soak rolled oats in milk overnight, then add lots of cut up oranges (and any other fruits you like) and almonds. Stir in plain yogurt, and some honey if you want it a bit sweeter, and you have a delicious breakfast or snack food.

                        This tastes much better than it sounds like it will.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fern

                          No, actually, it sounds good, fern. I never make Muesli, but once upon a time I used to stay at a certain hotel on business and it had the *best* Muesli on the breakfast menu. I've never had it with oranges, though--thank you for the idea.

                        2. This is from the information sheet included with the box of FL oranges I got for Christmas: "Oranges last longest in a cool area that's well ventilated. They maintain their flavor and quality for up to six weeks when refrigerated between 35 and 50 degrees F ."

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: blue room

                            That is good news, blue room. I thought maybe I had two weeks, top. Thank you for letting me know. What are you planning to do with yours? Florida oranges are good juicers, right?

                            1. re: Steady Habits

                              In my experience, you get more juice from Valencias or Temples than Navels - I don't know that there's any difference in juiciness between Florida and California or elsewhere. I agree that you have several weeks grace period in the fridge - possibly way more. I once bought a sack of grapefruit from a roadside vendor near Orlando before flying back to Boston. I "lost" one of them in the back of the crisper drawer for 3 months; when i found and halved it, it was still excellent. Of course, it was likely picked not long before I bought it, and you have no way of knowing when your gift fruit was harvested.

                              The best pie I ever tasted was Rhubarb-Orange, but it's not exactly rhubarb season!

                              1. re: greygarious

                                Navels are the dominant orange crop in California and Valencias are the dominant crop in Florida. So in practice, oranges grown in Florida tend to be used for juice and California oranges for eating. But you can juice any kind of orange, and Valencias are good eating, though they can be hard to peel without getting juice all over.

                          2. My favorite with good (home grown from Mom) oranges is stir fry -- I make the sauce with juice and zest from one orange, soy sauce, and cornstarch. I missed this so much when I ran out of oranges last year that I plan to freeze juice + zest in ice cube trays. Here is my full recipe (which also is good to use the produce coming from the farmers market in Phoenix): http://blog.firecooked.com/2008/05/25...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: firecooked

                              That looks very good. TY for the link, firecooked. Btw, not about oranges, but is that your recipe for the chimichangas? Those look so good. I don't fry things at home; I'd love to have a decent recipe for baking them.

                              1. re: Steady Habits

                                The chimi recipe reminds me a a dress I bought -- the sales lady said it didn't look like much on the hanger, but to try it on... and it was fabulous! We really like the chimi recipe.. I am also adverse to deep frying!

                            2. I want to thank everyone for the ideas. I was relieved to hear from blueroom that apparently the fruit will last longer than I thought it would under refrigeration, so I'll have time to try out your delicious ideas, without forcing the peeps to eat Cuisine a l'Orange eleven days in a row. ;-)

                              So, here's my first plan. I'm going to put the veal chops and escarole on hold until tomorrow, and tonight serve up a pan of nice, homey, cold-weather Sunday-night sauteed chicken thighs with a reduction sauce from, among other things, apricot preserves, orange juice and zest, a little white wine (Sherry would probably be even better, but it's been a featured ingredient several times recently).

                              So, here are my points of indecision:

                              1) Use onions in this, maybe sliced thinly and caramelized, or minced garlic and shallot?

                              2) Besides the S&P, I want *one* herbal accent. Thyme, or rosemary?

                              1. I've been heating frozen vegs with a mix of orange juice and chicken broth.with a hint of allspice and thyme. Folks seem to enjoy it. might even try this with cauliflower some night

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                  Allspice & orange = sure winner. Sounds good, FCF.

                                  1. re: Steady Habits

                                    The funny thing is, it started at the freezer section of my local supermarket. I saw some Bird's-Eye concoction that said the veggies were done in a citrus sauce. For that they get about an 800% mark-up! I figured what the heck, I have oranges at home and can do the same thing! The idea of allspice was an inspiration - and a good one at that!

                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                      I sometimes use grated orange zest, along with S&P and maybe a little butter, unless I sauteed them in EVOO (then no butter), on various veggies, such broccoli, broccolini (sp), quartered Brussels sprouts (adding something like chopped walnuts for crunch); sauteed cauliflower; or roasted asparagus, tossed in oil, S&P, then in the oven on a sheet pan for about 15-20 minutes, depending on spear thickness, at 400 or so. When I can get especially good green beans, especially haricots verts, they work well roasted, too.

                                      With the Brussels sprouts, I sometimes like to add a little bit of my various curry supplies, too. Ginger works with the sprouts, too. But allspice and orange, so good especially in winter, it seems to me, so I'll have to experiment with that, with the veggies.

                                      And, you're so right, the premium we'd pay for letting Bird's Eye or GG do it for us is outrageous. And--they never do it as well, as we can do quickly ourselves. Yes, it's JMO, but, while I have no problem with using certain frozen *plain* vegetables, and often do, I'm never happy with the texture of the veggies in the frozen food producers' sauced versions, and I don't think it's as healthy as doing it yourself.

                                      One last thing; I saw a recipe online last I have to go back and find for carrots glazed in molasses and orange juice. It seems to me your allspice would be excellent on those.

                                      1. re: Steady Habits

                                        oh yes! Allspice on carrots is great! And the problem with the "processed" thing is it is usually overcooked. I can cut, trim watch, etc. my own mix much easier than throwing it all in a microwave (what's a macrowave? - an atom bomb?)and watching it all melt away

                                2. I don't know if you like sweet potatoes but oranges, their zest and the juice mixed into mashed sweet potatoes and some salt and pepper to taste is really tasty. It is a bit sweet naturally but not overwhelming dessertish sweet and I enjoy it with broiled pork chops or a roasted chicken with really crispy skin even after the holidays.

                                    1. Seems like you have some direction about what to do with those oranges. Here's a post from last year when I had a similar question about prolific orange trees ... and you think 12 pounds is a problem ... how about three trees ... small ones ... but still

                                      Oranges really do keep indefinately in the fridge, preferablly a crisper or meat drawer. I had some oranges last from Christmas through June. The thicker the peel, the longer they last. So a thin-skinned clementine should be used before a navel.

                                      Some of the savory ideas in that thread
                                      - orange, beet, walnut and blue cheese salad
                                      - oranges w/ roasted beets, goat cheese, and hazelnuts
                                      - avocado, radish, and shaved brussels sprouts/escarole/or frisee
                                      - slices of orange and avocado, with a little red wine vinaigrette and some torn basil
                                      - Rustic Jicama Appetizer w/ Red Chile & Lime
                                      - lamb and orange
                                      - Orangecello
                                      - dilled couscous with chicken" that has a dressing made of orange juice and red wine vinegar
                                      - Segmented oranges are surprisingly good when tossed in stir-frys.
                                      - great over cottage cheese for snackin'
                                      - when cooking fish cut oranges into wedges peel and all, add them to a foil packet with the fish, a little butter, and either asparagus, green beans, or potatoes
                                      - Orange fennel salad with prosciutto
                                      - use the orange rind to make compound butters for fish or chicken
                                      - orange vinegar
                                      - sprinkled with chile and a shot of lemon
                                      - Orange / pomegranite compote with a splash of brandy

                                      Navels aren't really juice oranges, but you could juice and make jello. If the juice is sweet, you don't need to add sugar. One cup of juice in a heat-proof bowl, sprinkle with one packet of gelatin. Bring the other cup to a boil. Add to gelatin mixture. Sweeten to taste, or not. Chill.

                                      Another recipe that is really great and needs no sugar is 2 cups of oj sprinkled with 2 packets of gelatin. Bring a can of crushed pineaple to a boil. Mix into orange juice. chill,. Makes a healthy and tasty jello-type of dessert.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: rworange

                                        That reminds me: I make orange juice popsicles by mixing a couple of cups of orange juice with a teaspoon or two of honey, then freezing in a popsicle mold. The honey is less for flavor than for structural integrity -- it seems to help suspend the pulp so that it remains evenly distributed in the juice and doesn't sink to the bottom before it has a chance to freeze.

                                      2. Great ideas! I did see one for liqueur, but another easy option would be for sangria-sliced and juiced, and added with a nice red (my preference) wine, along with whatever other fruit you have, and I like mine topped off with a bit of soda water for lightness and bubbles. Yum.