Monday, February 23, 2015

Meatless Monday: Hankering for Citrus and Warmer Days

This week was much like the last several in the Northeast — daily Weather Alerts warning of winds, frigid temperatures, snow, and the dreaded “wintry mix.” Trips to the gym, bike rides, and even long walks have been replaced with shoveling snow and ice chopping. Our landscape is looking decidedly polar and the Arctic blast has just made another comeback. At least the sun has been shining (sometimes).

I find myself dreaming of warmer climes and the smells and tastes that go with them.

A couple of weeks back I really wanted some navel oranges like the ones you can pick from backyard trees in California. After a disappointing walk down the produce aisle, I decided it was time to visit LocalHarvest, an online store where family farmers offer some of their products for sale directly to the public. You simply search for the item you desire (or have fun shopping through the catalog) and choose your vendor. Often there are some special offers.

I have shopped through Local Harvest several times, always with great success. [This past post details the Local Harvest story and one of my purchases.]

This time I ended up buying 12 pounds of fragrant, juicy, naturally orange oranges from Rancho Charanda Citrus Ranch that are: “Non GMO and “naturally grown using organic fertilizing techniques, rain water from the mountains and old fashioned farm labor.” I ordered on Monday the 26th, and they arrived around noon on January 30, in perfect condition.

A friend was so impressed with my success that she used the Local Harvest site to locate and order red grapefruit from Texas. The arrival of her fruit was just what she needed to lift her spirits. 

All this dealing with winter has sapped a bit of my energy, so the remainder of this post is late, brief, and purely informational…

On thinking about grapefruit this question popped into my mind: “Why is this large, yellow fruit called ‘grapefruit’?

The answer? According to the “Everyday Mysteries” section of the Library of Congress website: “If you see grapefruit growing on a tree, you will notice that they grow in clusters. It is suggested that these clusters resemble the shape of large yellow grapes and so the fruit was called a grapefruit. Another explanation is that the premature grapefruit looks similar in shape to unripe green grapes.” [See if you agree after checking out this image.]

The grapefruit is a relative newcomer to the citrus family. It was described in 1750 as “the forbidden fruit” of Barbados and was mentioned in an account of plants found in Jamaica in 1824. It grows wild on several islands of the West Indies. The grapefruit is believed to be an accidental hybrid between the pummelo and the orange.

There have been several attempts to change the moniker “grapefruit” to something else, but each time without success.  

You can read more about the history of the grapefruit, how it arrived in Florida, how it made its way to Texas, its nutritional properties, and how it happens to come in so many colors in this excellent article on the Purdue University website. 

Happy Meatless Monday! Once again, bundle up and watch out for any icy patches!

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

1 comment:

  1. I eat so much grapefruit, I'm sure to be reincarnated as one. So I was very interested in what the Purdue link had to say. Very informative-- thanks & stay warm!