Cooking with Kids - Orange You Glad

Written by: Melissa Graham

While Purple Asparagus incorporates as many local products into its school programs as possible, during the winter months, we turn to some imported fruits for our school program. From January through early February, we tote a whole assortment of delicious citrus fruits all over Chicago.  At home, you can help your little ones learn about these five orange siblings:

  1. Naval Orange: While kids may have tasted their fair share of the navel, few know that the name is not the result of its popularity in the Navy, but instead its resemblance to a belly button. We love to bring both the ordinary navel and the newer, Cara Cara, with its pinkish interior.
  2. Blood Orange: a fruit with a scary name, but a delicious flavor reminiscent of strawberries as the kids tell me.  They are red because of the high concentration of antioxidants — known as a superhero nutrient by our students because of its ability to fight disease.
  3. Seville Orange: We don’t eat this bitter brother raw. This variety is ordinarily transformed into marmalade. We sample it mixed with Neufchatel cheese and spread onto whole grain bread.
  4. Valencia Orange: Also not popular in its raw form. Most these oranges, largely grown in Brazil, are turned into juice. We blend OJ with frozen strawberries to make a smoothie called Rosy Sunrises (below)
  5. Mandarin Orange: We use this baby brother in a recipe: Mandarin-Mint Salad Sundae (below). The Mandarin goes under a number of aliases, including tangerine, satsuma, and clementine.

We also taste grapefruits (the sweeter red variety), pommelos (the largest of the citrus family), kumquats (a surprising kid favorite), and sometimes even an Ugli fruit (hideous, yet delicious). Meyer lemon is also usually among our supply and our kids love to hear that it is the result of a marriage between orange and lemon.

Kids learn that by eating one orange, they’ll get all the vitamin C for an entire day. They also come to understand that eating an orange is better than drinking its juice because of its high fiber content. With older kids, we explain that oranges aren’t always orange. Fruits grown in climates with warmer nighttime temperatures may turn green. In fact, many oranges that you buy from Florida are dyed orange. To make sure you’re not eating an artificially colored orange, buy fruit from California, which prohibits fruit dying.  At the end of the class, we’re all a little healthier and whole lot more sticky.

Rosy Sunrise (Serves 4-6)

  • 2 cups orange or tangerine juice
  • 8 ounces frozen strawberries
  • Combine the two ingredients in a blender. Serve cold in tall glass.

Mandarin Mint Salad Sundae (Serves 1)

Tangerine-Mint Salad

  • 1 tangerine, peeled and segmented
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped mint

Vanilla Yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons plain lowfat yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 drop vanilla extract

Peel and segment the tangerine. Whisk together the honey, orange, and mint. Mix together the dressing with the tangerine segments.  Mix the yogurt, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Top vanilla yogurt with salad.

Play, eat, and enjoy!  For more delicious nutritious kid-friendly dishes, check out my blog, Little Locavores.

Posted on February 24, 2012 at 9:28 PM