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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.)