Localicious: The Almighty Citrus

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The winter season brings with it many wonderful elements that make it magical. From snowflakes and snowmen to warm fires and hot chocolate, winter is a special time of year.

Lucky for us, Mother Nature was very smart when creating foods for this chilly season, also known for colds and flu. Citrus in particular provides an abundance of nutrients that help keep bodies strong and healthy. Coming into the peak of ripeness in late fall and early winter in California, these juicy delicacies are delicious eaten on their own or add lovely flavor to many culinary dishes, desserts and drinks.

There is wide variety of citrus found around the world. In the North State our varieties are a little more basic, but still scrumptious. When we think of citrus nutrients we often think of Vitamin C, which is abundant in all citrus and a key nutrient in staying healthy, but citrus has much more to offer in keeping your immune system strong, your liver clean, your body clear of free radicals, and infections at bay.

Let’s break it down so you can see for yourself why it is important to eat a variety of citrus with their secret components that work synergistically together to keep you healthy!

Citrus Bioflavonoids are found in the pith & peel of oranges, lemons, limes & grapefruit. They help increase Vitamin C absorption, improve circulation and support healthy connective tissue.

Oranges contain +/- 98mg Vitamin C and are classified as sweet or bitter. Varieties include Valencia, navel, Jaffa & blood oranges. Mandarins, tangerines, satsumas & citron have similar health benefits to oranges, but are not classified as an orange.

Hesperidin, a bioflavonoid found in oranges, is responsible for protecting against viral infections. Studies have shown that hesperidin has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and protects against cancer.

Mandarins contain +/-32mg Vitamin C and are a crop prevalent in Northern California.

Lola Lodigiani, along with her husband and business partner Lou Lodigiani (known as "Farmer Lou" to many), loves working the land and bringing to harvest the best mandarins for taste, quality and sweetness. "It’s the love of serving our customers and the kids at school that gives us the energy every year to keep giving back to nature what nature gives to us," she says.

Lola Lodigiani, along with her husband and business partner Lou Lodigiani (known as “Farmer Lou” to many), loves working the land and bringing to harvest the best mandarins for taste, quality and sweetness. “It’s the love of serving our customers and the kids at school that gives us the energy every year to keep giving back to nature what nature gives to us,” she says.

art-0116-loca2Louis E Lodigiani from Tri-L Mandarin Ranch in Oroville specializes in growing Satsuma mandarins, a seedless variety. Their mandarins are marketed under the name Feather River Gold and are sold from Butte County to Napa County in Raley’s, Winco and Grocery Outlet. Lou & his wife Lola established their orchard in 1995 and have gone from a small farm stall to a wholesale commercial business. Tri-L Ranch provides mandarins to 4H for fundraising and they donate to various organizations in Butte County.

Steve Westaby, owner of Happy Valley Fresh (HVF), a local Redding mandarin distributor and grower, is proud that HVF, “delivers fresh, locally sourced mandarins from family farms directly to schools and stores. The growers are excited about the new market HVF is creating for their local products.” HVF serves Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Glenn and Colusa counties. Look for their mandarins at Holiday Market, Savmor and Raley’s.

Grapefruit are thought to be the result of crossbreeding between oranges and pomelos and are categorized as white, pink or ruby. They contain +/-45mg Vitamin C, and grapefruit pectin has long been researched for its ability to lower cholesterol levels. Naringin, the flavonoid found in grapefruit, may help eliminate old red blood cells and normalize hematocrit levels. Grapefruit is rich in cancer-fighting chemicals including D-limonene (a terpene polyphenol found in the oils of citrus) which inhibits tumor formation by enhancing liver detoxification.

Limes contain +/-20mg Vitamin C and come in two varieties, key lime & Tahitian. Limes are abundant in antioxidants & limonene (enhances detoxification & blocks carcinogens). Limes also have an antibiotic effect, which is why it is often recommended to splash some on your food while travelling to help your body fight off different bacteria found in foods.

Lemons contain +/-30 mg Vitamin C along with antioxidants & limonene. They come in sweet (Meyer) and sour (Eureka & Lisbon) varieties. Lemon juice in water first thing in the morning is a wonderful tonic helping to support & cleanse the liver.

Kumquats contain +/-8.3mg Vitamin C per kumquat and are closely related to citrus with very similar health benefits & flavor. However, kumquats are eaten skin and all, resulting a bittersweet but delicious taste. Its peel is rich in nutrients, and similar to citrus, it packs a powerful nutritional punch.

Citrus truly is your best friend during the cold winter months. Eat them up for your health, Don’t forget to include the white pith part and seeds for maximum benefits!  

Orange Crush – Michelle Cave

  • 4 large oranges, peeled
  • 8-10 carrots
  • 2”-3” piece fresh turmeric, unpeeled (can substitute fresh ginger)

Juice ingredients together for health & wellness.

Did you know…

Citrus seeds can help your body fight off infection, can be used to help prevent yeast overgrowth, and have anti-viral properties?

Be sure to eat those bitter seeds!

Michelle Cave
About Michelle Cave

Michelle Cave is a certified Nutrition Consultant & Nutrition Educator and has been practicing for over 13 years. She studied Holistic Nutrition at Bauman College, in Berkeley, CA and is a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Find out more: www.familynutritionconnection.com

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