Won’t You Be My Clementine?

A lot of people think summer is the only ideal time to enjoy fresh fruit, but that is not so.  True, summer may have strawberries, watermelon and pineapple, but Old Man Winter can boast some tasty treats as well, such as pomegranates, bananas, apples, pears, and citrus fruits.

Speaking of citrus fruits, my favorite one is the clementine, and it’s in peak season right now.  This sweet, juicy fruit is affectionately known as the “Christmas Orange” because they’re at their best from mid-November through January.  You’ve probably seen them in your grocery store in great big crates.  My husband and I can go through one of those bad boys in a week, especially since I can eat two or three in one sitting!

Clementines are sometimes called "zipper oranges" because they're so easy to peel.

Besides the fact that they are delicious, here are a few reasons to get on the clementine bandwagon before they go out of season.

  • Clementines are an excellent source of fiber, folic acid and potassium. One clementine has 1.3 grams of fiber, 18 micrograms of folic acid and 131 milligrams of potassium.
  • Like all citrus fruits, clementines are high in Vitamin C (36 milligrams).  A single clementine provides about half the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C for women and about one-third of the recommended daily amount for men.  Vitamin C is always a good thing for our immune system, but especially right now when we’re in the thick of cold and flu season.
  • Loaded with the anti-bacterial citric acid, clementines help eliminate bacteria that cause blemishes.  The juice also helps reduce fine lines and stimulates the cells’ production of collagen.  MAJOR BONUS!

Choose clementines with a uniform bright orange color, with no blemishes or wrinkles. They should feel soft.

  • Clementines are high in beta-carotene and ascorbic acid, both of which have been proven to reduce vision loss related to aging when consumed on a regular basis.
  • The aroma that this fruit gives off is actually proven to be calming!  Studies show that the scent triggers the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.  When serotonin is released, it gives you a “feel good” feeling.
  • If you’re like me, you hate to see produce go to waste when you can’t eat your groceries fast enough.  Luckily, clementines will keep up to two weeks when refrigerated.
  • Since they’re so easy to peel and they’re usually seedless, clementines make a great on-the-go snack that you can enjoy at your desk or on the road without making a big sticky mess.

And clementines aren’t just for snacking.  They add an amazing fresh flavor to all kinds of meals.  Here are a few ideas to get your mind working:

Clementine Salsa

Watercress, Arugula and Citrus Salad

Clementine-Cranberry Relish

Couscous with Clementines, Chickpeas, Olives and Dates

Chicken with Clementine Salsa

So it turns out that clementines are not only healthy, but they’ll also improve your vision, skin and moods.  Who knew?   All I can say is “Oh My Darling, Clementine!”

Has anyone else been enjoying clementines as much as me these past few weeks?  Comments and recipes welcome!

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Filed under Rants and Cravings

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