Recipes for Spring

EVERYBODY LOVES THE SUNSHINE CITRUS SALAD

Nutritious Citrus
All citrus fruits are veritable goldmines of nutrition goodness. Let me count the ways…
Well, we know about the vitamin C thing. Just one orange, for example, contains about 65 mg – the daily recommended intake for this important nutrient. But there are so many other wonderful benefits of citrus fruits! Did you also know that they are high in potassium and other minerals, as well as being a good source of the soluble fiber pectin?

The other groovy thing about citrus? It fights grease. Have you ever been out to one of those barbeque chicken or rib restaurants where they give you a little bowl of lemon water at the end of your meal to clean your sticky and grease-saturated fingers? (a distant memory, but yes, I recall…) Well, as it turns out citrus acts as a cleanser the very same way inside the body, aiding in the digestion and utilization of fat! How cool is that?!

Here are some more fun little tidbits about individual citrus fruits…
Grapefruits
– consuming them burns as many calories as they contain, therefore an excellent choice for those trying to lose weight.
– helps in digestion and utilization of foods.
– one grapefruit contains about 75 mg vitamin C
– high potassium content
– red grapefruit is a good source of lycopene; a phytonutrient with anti-tumor properties.

Oranges
– delicious enjoyed as juice, one glass contains about 125 mg of vitamin C
– high potassium content
– high calcium content
– out of all the citrus fruits, oranges contain the most vitamin A (as beta-carotene), which may help us fight infections by supporting the immune system.
– oranges contain a flavanoid called herperidin, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in animal studies, and to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Lemons
– excellent detoxifier, cleanser, purifier, and rejuvenator; especially in the liver.
– lemon water stimulates gastric juices when drunk 20 – 30 minutes prior to eating.
– good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous
– contains a compound called limonoid, which has been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.

Get yourself to the shops quick and pick up some of your fav fruits before they are out of season! And perhaps get into some of the lesser-known citrus that is sure to please. Ever tried a kumquat? How about a minneola, or pummelo? Meyer lemon? All kinds of yum, I tell ya. Especially bathed in this syrup-from-heaven.

Finish the whole salad off with a good couple grinds of cracked black pepper (no, I am not insane, trust me…), and a sprinkling of the nuts or seeds you have on hand. I used some pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet to bring out their nutty-ness, which added a whole other awesome dimension of flavour to this dish. Almonds would be a nice fit too, or walnuts. Toasted sesame seeds? Sheesh, that’s a good idea. Guess I’ll have to try that tomorrow. Oh darn.
You could even push things further with some chopped fresh herbs. Mint is the obvious choice and would be delish, but since I am not so into obvious, I would go with something like tarragon or flat-leaf parsley. Does it ever stop?!

Everybody Loves the Sunshine Citrus Salad
Ingredients:
– a lovely selection of citrus fruits: navel oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, meyer lemons, mandarins, minneolas, pummelos, kumquats, clementines…
– Ginger-Bay-Lime Syrup (recipe to follow)
– freshly ground black pepper
– nuts or seeds for garnish

Directions:
1. Prepare syrup.
2. While the syrup is cooling down, slice up the citrus fruits – slice off the rind on the top and bottom, then slice down the sides. Slice the fruit horizontally to make “discs”. (This is just one way to slice citrus, of course. Do it however you like!)
3. Arrange sliced fruit on a platter, pour cooled syrup over top. Add freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with nuts or seeds.

Ginger-Bay-Lime Syrup
Ingredients:
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
a few slices fresh ginger
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 bay leaf

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let syrup steep and cool down. Store leftovers in a glass container in the fridge for up to seven days. Makes about 4 servings.

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