Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fruits of the Week: Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruits

If you visit the Gilbert Farmers Market on a normal basis you have probably noticed the abundance of Arizona Grown Citrus! Its been such a popular purchase that we wanted to give you some information about them!

Vitamin C, the antioxidant vitamin that boosts the immune system and protects from the signs of aging, is found in abundance in oranges.

Oranges are one of the least expensive sources of vitamin c, which protects against cell damage, aging, and disease. The fruit is a also a good source of fiber, folate, and potassium as well as calcium, which is vital for bone maintenance. They contain the carotenes, zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which can help maintain eye health and protect against macular degeneration. Oranges also contain rutin, a flavonoid that can help slow down or prevent the growth of tumors, and nobiletin, an anti-inflammatory compound. All these plant compounds also help vitamin c work more effectively. 

Did You Know?
You should was some of the white pith of the orange as well as the juicy flash because to contains high levels of fiber, useful plant chemicals, and antioxidants. 

Practical Tips: 
Buy Oranges that feel heavy to hold compared with their size-this means they should be juicy and fresh. Store them in the fridge to retain their vitamin C. Orange peel contains high levels of nutrients, but should be scrubbed and dried before use. 

Indispensable in many recipes, lemons are rich in vitamin c and can help protect us from breast cancer and other cancers.

The fresh, acidic flavor of lemon juice enhances both sweet and savory foods and dishes, while the peel can be used to add flavor. the acid and antioxidants in lemon juice means that it can help prevent foods from browning once peeled or cut. All parts of the lemon contains valuable nutrients and antioxidants. They are a particularly good source of vitamin c. The plant compound antioxidants include limonene, an oil that may help to prevent breast and other cancers and lower "bad" cholesterol, and rutin, which has been found to strengthen veins. Lemons stimulate the taste buds and may be useful for people with a poor appetite. 

Did You Know?
An average lemon contains about 3 tablespoons of juice. The tenderizing acid in lemons makes a useful addition to marinades for meat, or meat stews.

Practical Tips:
Either wash thoroughly or buy unwaxed or organic lemons if you want to use the peel. You can get more juice from a lemon if you warm it for a few seconds, in the microwave or in hot water, before squeezing. The heavier the lemon, the more juice it should contain. Lemon juice, thanks to its pectin, helps hams and helloes to set, can be used instead of vinegar in salad dressings, or added to mayonnaise. 

An excellent source of vitamin c, eating grapefruit boosts the immune system and protects our hearts.

In recent years, the pink-fleshed grapefruit has become as popular as the white or yellow-fleshed variety. It is a little sweeter and contains more health benefits - The pink pigment indicates the presence of lycopene, the antioxidant carotene that has been shown to help prevent prostate and other cancers. Like other citrus fruits, grapefruits contain bioflavonoids, compounds that appear to increase the benefits of vitamin c, also found in this fruit in excellent amounts. Grapefruits are low on the glycemic index and very low in calories, so make an important fruit for dieters. Because grapefruit juice can alter the effect of certain drugs (e.g. drugs that lower blood pressure), people on medication should check with their doctor before they consume the fruit. 

Did You Know?
The slightly bitter taste of some grapefruits is caused by a compound called naringenin, which has cholesterol-lowering properties.

Practical Tips:
Grapefruit is delicious halved, sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled for a short while. Try to eat some of the white pith with your grapefruit because this is high in nutrients. Grapefruits, like all citrus fruits, will contain more juice if they feel heavier. 

P.S.: We have an average of 5 vendors selling citrus each weekend, shop around to get different varieties!

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