5 Health Benefits of Florida Citrus

citrus-fruitsCitrus is one of the most delicious types of food on the planet, but few people realize just how good it is for you as well. With its nutrient dense properties citrus can really pack a lot of nutrition and health benefits into your daily life. Florida is one of the largest citrus producing regions in the world. Its subtropical climate and rich soil combine perfectly to create citrus that is sweet, thin-skinned and loaded with juice.

Following are the top five health benefits of citrus:

Nobiletin

Nobiletin is a flavonoid, which can be extracted from tangerines and has been proven to fight obesity. Nobiletin found in citrus is also believed to help fight off type 2 Diabetes often associated with obesity. This is a great reason to increase citrus fruit in your diet.

Reduce Stroke

Research conducted by the American Heart Association shows that women who consumed large amounts of flavanone by means of oranges and other fresh citrus were able to cut their stroke risk by 19 percent. Adding Florida citrus to your diet can have a dramatic effect on long-term health.

Prevent Cancer

Japanese researchers have proven that certain compounds found in Satsuma mandarins can slow down or prevent tumor growth in the tongue, colon and lungs. These compounds are also found in other types of citrus Florida as well.

See Better With C

Most people are aware of the huge health benefits of vitamin C which is found in abundance in Florida Citrus Fruit, however, what many people do not know is that Vitamin C is also necessary to proper eye sight as well. Nerve endings in the retina require vitamin C in order to function properly. This adds a whole new layer of reasons for not only consuming citrus, but also for giving citrus gift boxes to others. Florida citrus fruit gift baskets not only show your love but may also help to improve the health of your loved one.

Aromatherapy

The aromatic compound found in lemons and other Florida citrus called linalool, has been found to reduce stress levels in research studies. Essential oil therapists often use citrus oil to create calming compounds for patients.

Purchasing citrus online can give individuals a multitude of options which help them find fun and creative ways to consume and use Florida citrus fruits to improve their health.

Brighten Your Winter With Citrus Fruit

Florida OrangesDuring the winter months it is easy to find yourself longing for the fruits of summer. Watermelon and cantaloupe are still months away from peak taste, so how can you satisfy your craving for fresh, in season fruit at the peak of their taste? Well, winter is actually high time for many types of Indian River citrus fruits such as Clementine citrus and Honeybell citrus.

Taking advantage of the availability during the winter of Indian River citrus is a great idea not only for your budget but also for your mood. Citrus is proven to provide a huge dose of vitamin C when consumed fresh and vitamin C has a huge influence on mood and overall health. Citrus fruits are not just great tasting, but they can actually make you feel better as well.

Citrus fruits make a great gift too. Citrus gift baskets are a long-standing winter tradition that can really brighten the day of a friend or family member. Purchasing a citrus gift box for someone is a great way to help him or her with the winter blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder is an actual change in chemical levels that many people experience during the long winter months. The diminished hours of sunshine in most parts of the world during winter can have a huge effect on both mood and health.

Citrus gifts cannot only brighten those long winter days, but could actually help someone get through their winter blues. When you purchase Florida citrus gifts you send the message to a loved one that they are cared about on many levels. A citrus gift basket says, “I am thinking of you, and I want you to be happy and feel better.”

When you pass on these positive messages to someone with a citrus box they are more likely to pass them on to someone else as well. Also when you make the effort to brighten someone else’s winter your own day will be brightened as well. Doing something nice for others is the best way to make your own self feel great too. If you are feeling the winter blues yourself some citrus for you and your loved ones can go a long way to changing your mood.

How To Store Your Citrus Fruit

June 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Citrus Fruits, Citrus Varieties

candied-grapefruit-peelsStoring fresh citrus fruits can sometimes seem mysterious. Even when you think you have properly handled and stored your Florida citrus fruit, it spoils and you are left wondering what you did wrong.

Citrus fruit, like all fruit, has certain requirements to ensure that it stays fresh for the longest period possible. Learning these few simple tricks will help you make the most of orange citrus fruits. If you have recently received citrus fruit gift baskets you will want to follow these tips to make sure you get the most out of your lovely Indian citrus fruits.

Storing

Most of the items you would receive in Florida citrus fruit gift baskets can be stored at room temperature for several days. This is a bonus, and can make storing Florida citrus fruit gifts quite simple at first. However, if you find that you and your family do not eat all of your exotic citrus fruit at once, you will want to store the rest of the fruit in a plastic bag to expand its longevity. Also placing your fruit in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator is also recommended for items received in citrus fruit baskets

Long Term Storage

If you feel that you have a large amount of citrus fruit which you want to store for longer periods of time then you may want to consider freezing your citrus. Many people do not realize that citrus can be frozen for later use.

Juicing the fruit and freezing is one way to make sure you get use out of the fruit much later. Peels or zests can also be refrigerated or frozen for cooking purposes later on. Although whole citrus fruits cannot be frozen, you can create delicious healthy deserts with your citrus by using it in sorbet recipes.

 Other Ways of Preserving

There are other methods of preserving citrus fruit as well. If you are willing to invest the time and energy you can turn your citrus fruits into delicious fruit leather. Fruit leather is a type of dehydrated fruit, which can provide healthy snacks for kids and grownups alike.

Certain types of citrus such as grapefruit and mandarin oranges do well canned as well. Use a trusted canning recipe and be sure to follow directions precisely to ensure the life of the fruit.

Where Are The Best Citrus Fruit Grown

hg12_taste-grapefruit-trioMany people are interested in understanding what makes Southern Florida citrus fruit so exceptionally sweet in comparison to anywhere else in the United States, because there is such a strong difference. We might at first risk an educated guess that it’s the constant sunshine, which is a requirement but only a part of the sweet treat formula. We may even try to explain how the 121 mile long Indian River that runs through the citrus belt is not fresh water, but salt water called a brackish lagoon that creates an extremely fertile beltway drawing every kind of life from wild bear, to oysters and crabs.

How It is Done

Science shows the Indian River District in Florida has the perfect combination that creates an environment for the sweetest varieties of premium citrus fruits. The differences in other regions like Texas, even though they also have consistent sunshine, creating different tasting citrus fruits altogether, is that this state have individual sets of superior environmental conditions specific to certain citrus species, and can grow them as successfully as Florida.

The difference between states is actually the constant regularity of certain humidity levels and, surprisingly, the different degrees of day-to-night temperature changes. These are critical environmental regulators that vary the sugar to acidic ratios in citrus fruit as they grow and ripen. No secret fertilizers or watering techniques can alter these crops the way that Mother Nature does it. Indian citrus fruits of Florida will always have a distinctive sweet as honey flavor.

If a species of citrus fruit is naturally high in acid, the crop will not do well in Texas because the dry heat environment will create an even more acidic content which would not be pleasant tasting. The same happens in Florida, for example, some of their varieties are much sweeter than the same Texas citrus fruit because of the humid environment and temperature variations.

Tart Flavors vs Honey Sweet Varieties

Drier arid areas produce Texas citrus fruit that are brightly colored with thick peels or rinds, and have a stronger acid than sugar ratio. Texas citrus fruit gifts will be more tart in flavor while still having low acidity and outstanding taste, like their fantastic, large Ruby Red Grapefruit; where Florida’s fresh citrus including their grapefruits are sweeter tasting. Indian River citrus fruit gifts are known for their perfect oranges, while Texas citrus is well know for their deep red pulp of its grapefruits. When looking for the perfect grapefruit citrus flavor, you can’t miss when buying fresh citrus from growers in these states.

The next time you want to really please your family, or send gourmet gift baskets to delight friends and relatives, visit online stores like Hale Groves or Pittman & Davis to enjoy the natural goodness of sweet as honey Indian River citrus fruits, like the All American Honeybells or Texas juicy Ruby Red Grapefruit.

Whether your family prefers natural honey sweet fresh citrus fruits or tart and tangy flavors, serving them fresh oranges, tangerines and grapefruit is the healthiest snack you can provide!

Buy Tangerines – Gluten Free Citrus Fruit

club-robinson-tangerinesNature and Florida farmers have been supplying the world with tangerines fruit and its delicious goodness for thousands of years now. Native to Southeast Asia, its sweet citrus taste and thin-skin, easy retrieval makes fresh tangerine one of the most popular healthy treats to eat among people of all ages. Sometimes called a mandarin tangerine due to its close relation to the mandarin orange, there are literally hundreds of different varieties of the fruit. The most popular varieties include Clementines, golden nugget, seedless tangerine and tangelo that is a cross between a tangerine and grapefruit. Many people are casually aware of the benefits of eating tangerines, but very few realize its extreme nutritional value, read on to learn of five good reasons to eat more tangerines.

Here is a list that will convince you about eating more tangerines:

1. Tangerines are gluten-free: Like many other fruits and vegetables, the tangerine orange is 100 percent gluten-free – this fact can be especially valuable for persons that may be suffering from a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Additionally, the absence of gluten as well as the high fiber and antioxidant
content can help support a healthy digestive system.

2. Rich in nutrition: Tangerines are packed with antioxidants that can help fight the free radicals responsible for disease formation and premature aging. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as iron, potassium, folate, fiber and flavonoids.

3. Encourages detox: Like all other citrus fruits, tangerines are highly alkaline in nature, which makes the fruit very cleansing. The alkaline properties of tangerine can help sweep the body of built-up toxins and harsh acids

4. Supports a healthy heart: Tangerines is a healthy heart food – the flavonoids and antioxidant compounds can help to speed up circulation and keep the arteries clean and clear of harmful plaque.

5. Natural stress busters: Tangerines can help deter negative feelings of stress and anxiety by producing neurotransmitters that help calm the nerves and encourages a continuous good mood.

In addition to the gluten-free and nutritional benefits mentioned above, the low calorie, and high fiber content of tangerines can also aid in weight loss. The best part about tangerines is the fact that they are widely available – you can purchase many varieties of farm-fresh tangerine online as well as at farmer’s markets and supermarkets. Additionally, you can buy a tangerine gift basket as a healthy gift for a loved one – Chinese legend states that giving the gift of tangerines means that you are bestowing happiness and prosperity onto the receiver!

Orange Varieties Everyone Should Be Eating More

orange-varietiesEveryone loves oranges because they are the sweetest and better tasting of the citrus fruits. Oranges help boost the immune system and nourish the body with important nutrients it needs to fight off diseases. With a sweet and juicy interior, oranges are perfect for a light and healthy snack. Here are the most popular varieties and their typical availability:

1. Navel Oranges – Navel oranges are large and round with a deep yellowish-orange color. The skin is stony with a medium-thick peel. Navel oranges are usually seedless and really easy to peel and are in season from November through February. Other types of Navels are the Holiday Red Navel Oranges, in season November through December, and the Western Navel Oranges from growers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, which are in season January through May.

2. Temple Oranges – Temples are Florida’s finest eating oranges, with an oval shape and deep orange color. They have a rich sweet and tangy flavor, are easy to peel or section, and few seeds. Temple Oranges are in season from January through February.

3. Valencia Oranges – Valencias have a juicy, rich flavor and aroma. It is medium to large in size, a round-to-oval shape, and a yellow to orange color that sometimes can be tinged green. The Valencia Oranges has a smooth texture with a thin peel and are in season from March through June.

4. Clementines – Small oranges with a deep and glossy orange exterior that is a relative of the tangerine. Clementines are a small and usually seedless variety of the mandarin. They are refreshing, both sweet and tart, and best whole or in salads. They are usually available November through January.

5. Tangelos – Known by their distinctive bell shape, tangelos are the result of a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit for a remarkably sweet and juicy fruit. They are loaded with sweetly tart juice and have a stony texture skin, which is fairly easy to peel. Tangelos are in season November through December. The most popular tangelo variety is the Minneola Tangelo, often called the Honeybell Tangelo. Honeybells have a deep red-orange color with a very sweet flavor, high juice content and only a few seeds. Honeybell Tangelos are in season from December through February.

6. Tangerines – Tangerines are a small, dark orange fruit with an easy-to-peel or “zipper” skin, and a rich and honey sweet juice. Tangerines are ideal for desserts or as a sweet nibble. Some of the tangerine varieties available nationwide are Sunburst or Treasure Coast Tangerines, in season November through April, and the Murcott or Honey Tangerines, available February through April.

7. Ortaniques – Ortaniques are a rare cross between a sweet Valencia Orange and a Tangerine. They have a bright orange color, a rich sweet flavor and are easy to peel and section. This hybrid blend received its unique name from OR-orange, TAN-gerine, un-IQUE. Richly luscious and loaded with Vitamin C, the Ortanique is perfect for eating fresh as a snack and for juicing. These oranges can only be found online, directly from Florida growers. Available March through April.

Citrus Fruits You Should Be Eating More

hg12_taste-grapefruit-trioPeople of all ages love Florida oranges because they are the sweetest and better tasting. But the usual oranges like Navels, Valencias and Temples, are not the only citrus varieties offering wonderful health benefits. Explore other varieties from the citrus family tree, sensations of health that are richly luscious and loaded with Vitamin C:

  1. Clementine – A relative of the tangerine, this small, sweet, and usually seedless variety of mandarin is best whole or in salads. They are available November through January.
  2. Tangelo – The most popular Florida tangelo variety available is the Minneola Tangelo, often called the Honeybell Tangelo. Known by its distinctive bell shape, the result of a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit for a remarkably sweet and juicy fruit. Honeybells are in season from January through February.
  3. Tangerines – Tangerines are small, dark orange fruits with a smooth, easy-to-peel skin and a deep orange color. They have a richly sweet flavor and are easy to pull-apart due to their naturally formed segments. Tangerines are ideal for desserts or as a sweet nibble and are readily available November through April. 
  4. Ortaniques – The Ortanique is a cross between a sweet Valencia Orange and a Tangerine. Ortaniques are bright orange color with a rich sweet flavor, and are easy to peel and section. This wonderful hybrid blend received its truly unique name from OR-orange, TAN-gerine, un-IQUE. Like other premium citrus, they’re simply not available in supermarkets, but are found online directly from Florida growers and are available March thru Mid-April.

Grapefruit

Grapefruits are known for their tangy sweet taste. Interior fruit colors range from bright pink, deep red to white. Perfect for peeling, cutting, sectioning and juicing, the grapefruit can be eaten as a refreshing snack, in salads and recipes or just drink their wholesome juice. The Florida grapefruit varieties available nationwide are:

  1. Dark Red Grapefruit – Also known as Flame, Ray or Star. The fruit is known for its exceptionally intense dark red, seedless interior and sweet flavor with hardly any bitterness. The rind is smooth and yellow with blush pigmentation.  This grapefruit variety is in season from October through June. 
  2. Red Grapefruit – Often called the Ruby Red Grapefruit, this type of grapefruit is known for its lighter red interior color and also for being seedless. The rind is smooth and yellow with a red blush. Ruby Red’s sweet flavor and seedless characteristics make it perfect for sectioning. They are in season from October through April.
  3. White grapefruit – Sweet White Grapefruit are a welcome guest at any connoisseur’s table. Known for their thin smooth skin and big roll-up-your-sleeves flavor, filled with an abundance of sweet invigorating juice, they are perfect for fresh eating, salads and refreshing juice. They are in season from November through April.

Grapefruit Guide: Health Benefits and Varieties

January 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Citrus Varieties, Grapefruit, Health, Nutrition

First things first, and health is at the top of everyone’s priority list at the start of a new year. Consuming vegetables and citrus fruit like grapefruit complement both your health and fitness goals.

Vitamin C

Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps to support the immune system. Vitamin C-rich foods may help reduce cold symptoms and their severity. These foods may also prevent the free radicals that trigger asthma and arthritis. Free radicals could oxidize cholesterol and lead to plaques, ultimately causing heart disease.

Antioxidants

Grapefruit has been found to be one of the top, citrus fruit juices with high levels of antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are substances that help prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on cells throughout your body and can be found in many foods, primarily fruits and vegetables. Health authorities say that getting antioxidants from food can offer health benefits superior to those taken in supplements.

Cholesterol

Grapefruit contains pectin, a form of soluble fiber that has been shown in studies to slow down the progression of atherosclerosis. Both blond and red grapefruit can reduce blood levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while red grapefruit lowers triglycerides as well.  Hence, researches have concluded that adding fresh, red grapefruit to the diet could be beneficial for everyone, but in particular for persons with high cholesterol, who have high triglycerides as well.

There is a word of caution, as compounds in grapefruit are known to increase circulating levels of several prescription drugs including statins. For this reason, the risk of muscle toxicity associated with statins may increase when grapefruit is consumed. Consult with your doctor regarding the interaction of any prescription medications you are taking and grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

Varieties

Ruby Red Grapefruit– Plump, thin skinned, blushing red and dripping with nature’s own sweet nectar. Widely grown in Florida and great broiled.

Sweet White Grapefruit– Known for their thin smooth skin and big flavor, filled with an abundance of sweet invigorating juice, they’re perfect for fresh eating, salads and refreshing juice.

Dazzling Deep Red Grapefruit– Bright, beautiful and featuring a warm crimson blush outside adding depth and richness to the deep, dark red flesh inside. They are sweet and seedless as the Ruby Reds.

Pummelo HB- Pummelos have a pink-colored flesh and are low acid, sweet and mild grapefruit. Use in desserts or salad fruit; peel is sometimes used for marmalade.

The Best Websites for Sending Christmas Gifts

Sending Christmas gifts is a smart way to do your holiday shopping. Instead of wasting time and money by driving all over town chasing deals or hunting down the perfect gifts you can sit at home and shop online. You can get amazing gifts that your loved ones will really enjoy sent directly to them. Just be sure that you are sending Christmas gifts from sites that are reliable. If you don’t order from reputable sites your gifts might arrive damaged or not arrive at all. If you want to streamline Christmas shopping this year and shop for Christmas gifts at home here are some of the best sites for sending Christmas gifts:

Hale Groves– When it comes to fruit baskets and fruit gifts no one beats Hale Groves. The fruit is delicious and is shipped at the peak of freshness. The site is easy to use and there is always customer service just a click or phone call away if you need help. You will find great gifts in a wide range of prices so that even if you are shopping on a tight budget you will be able to find great holiday gifts. Fruit baskets filled with fresh Florida oranges, grapefruit and specialty fruit like Honeybells are always popular holiday gifts.

Gift Basket Village– Gift Basket Village has a huge variety of gift baskets for all occasions. Special holiday gift baskets filled with a huge assortment of treats like nuts, cookies, candy, and fruit are a big hit with families, office groups, or holiday parties. The easy to use site makes sending Christmas gifts around the country easy. You can also order last minute gifts that will ship the same day if you forgot to get a gift and are in a hurry.

FTD– FTD ships gift baskets and gourmet food gifts as well as flowers. Their large network of affiliate shops makes it easy to get gifts to your loved ones fast. FTD is a one-stop shop for sending Christmas gifts because you can send gift of flowers, gourmet food, candy, and other gifts.

Gourmet Gift Baskets– If you are looking for family friendly Christmas gifts order from Gourmet Gift Baskets. Gifts of candy, popcorn, and other treats are packaged in simple family-friendly containers and are a good choice for family gifts. The site has a lot of choices for seasonal gift baskets so you have a lot of choices when it comes to sending Christmas gifts.

 

 

The Best Sites to Find Affordable Gift Baskets This Holiday Season

Even though the economy is doing better a lot of people are tightening their holiday gift budget this year. If you are looking for affordable gift baskets to send to your family and friends there are more choices than ever. Gift baskets are a great choice for budget conscious shoppers because you can order your gifts online and have them shipped directly to the ones you love. You won’t need to waste time or money shopping, wrapping or shipping gifts yourself. You can find gift baskets containing a huge range of items from wine and coffee to gourmet fruit to pajamas and spa items. So no matter how many people are on your gift list you will be able to find great gifts for everyone. Gift baskets are also affordable gifts to give to families, co-workers, and other groups of people. Sending one basket instead of buying individual gifts will save you a lot of money. Here are some of the best sites to find affordable gift baskets for the holidays:

Hale Groves— Giving fresh citrus fruit at holiday time is a family tradition for thousands of people. Hale Groves has the best tasting fresh Florida citrus fruit you can buy at very affordable prices. You can find delicious citrus fruit baskets in every price range. You can even order specialty Honeybells, although you better order them early because they often sell out. You can also customize gift baskets with gourmet items like cakes, nuts, preserves and other treats. Hale Groves is famous for their great customer service as well as the quality of their fruit.

Proflowers— If you want to send gifts quickly Proflowers is a great site to order from. You can get gourmet gift baskets as well as beautiful fresh flowers sent to your loved ones fast.

Harry and David— Another great place to find fruit baskets is Harry and David. Harry and David are known for their gourmet pears and other treats. These days they also have baskets of fresh USDA Organic certified apples for people who prefer organic fruit. Harry and Davidís prices are a little on the high side but their quality is consistently good. Harry and David gift baskets are very popular as holiday gifts.

Wine Country Gifts— If you want to give a basket of gourmet or specialty items trying giving a wine and cheese basket from Wine Country Gifts. You can also get baskets of gourmet coffee and tea, along with cookies, chocolates and other sweets. Just be aware that not every state allows alcohol to be mailed so depending on where your loved one lives you may or may not be able to send them a basket containing wine. The Wine Country Gifts website can tell you which states do allow wine to be shipped.