Orange is such a happy, vibrant spring color—it makes me smile! Orange food has the same effect. It looks great on the plate as well as delivering some tremendous health benefits. As I was shopping for this past weekend, I found some wonderful orange fruits and veggies to add to the traditional meals. It’s the carotenes that gives many of these vegetables their orange color and different carotenes deliver different health benefits:
- Beta-carotene – A fat soluble provitamin that the body converts into Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is thought to play a role in protecting cells, essential for vision and boosting the immune system, beta-carotene has been cited as having cancer fighting properties.
- Alpha- carotene – Displays significant anti-aging properties and it converts to Vitamin A in the body. It’s best absorbed with fat, so roasting or serving with olive oil, or pairing with avocado will enhance it’s benefits
- Flavonoids—hesperidin and naringenin in particular—are prevalent in citrus. These powerful flavonoids help reduce inflammation and blood vessel damage caused by poor diets.
Here is a list of a few orange items you may want to add to your next grocery list:
Golden Beets – Antioxidants
Carrots – Beta-carotene, alpha- carotene
Habanero Peppers – Capsicum
Butternut Squash – Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene
Sweet Potato – Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, Vitamin C
Cantaloupe – Alpha-carotene, Polyphenols, Vitamin C
Mango – Bets-carotene, alpha-carotene, Polyphenols, Vitamin C
Oranges – Flavonoids, Vitamin C
Two very simple recipes:
Roasted Butternut Squash
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1’’x 1/2” pieces patted dry
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Heat the oven to 425 degrees
Toss the chopped squash in the olive oil, put into a baking pan, add salt, pepper and Spike and bake for 25 minutes turning occasionally to get all sides brown and crispy. The squash is deliciously soft with a caramelized, crunchy outside. It goes well with all roast meats and poultry. The Spike just gives it more flavor.
Oranges in Grand Marnier
This is so easy with just three ingredients:
The proportions are 1:1 – one orange, one Tablespoon Grand Marnier, one Tablespoon orange juice for one serving. Just multiple according to the number of servings.
With a serrated knife cut the peel off the orange as shown. Remove all white pith, then slice in circular slices. Put in a bowl, squeeze any juices from the discarded peel, add the Grand Marnier and orange juice, swirl around, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve in a pretty glass bowl. I like to add dark chocolate covered orange rinds to make it a little extra special. It’s so simple and refreshing, a perfect light finish to any meal.