One of our orange growers during the European season is Giangiacomo Borghese. He has 85 hectares of flat Sicilian land, perfect for citrus trees. His farm lies to the east of the island. “My orange groves on the north side lookout at Mount Etna, it's a very beautiful view,” describes Giangiacomo, not making us jealous in the least. “My mother, Maria Carla, has been growing oranges, grapefruit and lemons here since 1955,” says Giangiacomo. “Sicily has the best climate for citrus fruit – very regular weather, good conditions.” The mother and son Borghese team will be supplying us with juicy Valencia oranges and grapefruit (Giangiacomo's favourite), which will bring a little ray of Sicilian sunshine into our boxes.
Our citrus is from Europe for the majority of the year, apart from some between June and October which is from further a field.
Oranges are traditionally thought to be useful only for their reliable source of vitamin C; this is essential for resisting infection. However in oranges this vitamin is combined with flavonoids, which helps the body's overall defences. The fruit may block the possible transformation of nitrates and nitrites in foods to nitrosamines, which are thought to cause stomach cancer. You can help reduce your blood cholesterol by eating oranges, due to the pectin (a soluble fibre) they contain. The flavonoids in oranges can improve the strength of your small blood vessels, aiding capillary circulation.
Storage and prep
If you want to use the zest, simply rinse them and grate away, since the oranges are unwaxed. People find different ways to peel an orange; one alternative is to slice the orange and eat it straight from the skin. Keep in a cool place in your kitchen or larder until they are at the ripeness you prefer. Less ripe fruit contains more pectin. Peeled or stored oranges quickly lose their vitamin C.