7 New Ways To Use Oranges This Winter

A vivid hit of citrus—organic juice, peel, and pulp—boosts holiday party dishes and elevates winter weeknight meals.

December 5, 2016
Antonis Achilleos

Organic oranges make up just 1 percent of the U.S. crop, but they’re gaining fast. Between 2008 and 2011, organic production jumped 46 percent. That’s thanks to growers like Benny McLean of Uncle Matt’s, in Florida. The 2015 Organic Farmer of the Year has helped convert 1,500 acres to organics over the past 16 years. Chemical-free organic peel is safe to dry for your spice rack, candy as a snack, or melt into marmalade to spread on toast. But no part of an orange should go to waste, says McLean, because “there are more nutrients in the peel and seeds than there are in the fruit.” Try these recipes, but also follow his example: Grind the antioxidant-rich seeds to sprinkle on yogurt, and try rubbing the pectin-filled pith on your teeth. It’s a natural whitener (check out these 7 more ways to whiten your teeth naturally).

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orange salad
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Valencian Citrus Salad

At Estrellón in Madison, Wisconsin, chef Tory Miller combines the season’s best fruit with an ample amount of spice to enliven winter meals.

Serves 6–8

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons hot paprika
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
4 Valencia oranges
1 Ruby Red grapefruit
1 blood orange
1 Meyer lemon
1 head radicchio (about 10 ounces), cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 cup (1 ounces) packed flatleaf parsley leaves
½ cup (3 ounces) pitted kalamata olives, halved 
¼ cup (1½ ounces) chopped Marcona almonds
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced (about ⅓ cup)
Shaved Manchego cheese, for serving

1. In a small saucepan over medium, heat oil and paprikas until spices begin to sizzle, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

2. Cut off top and bottom of Valencia oranges. Following contours of orange, cut away peel and pith; slice into ¼-inch thick rounds. Remove seeds. Transfer to a serving bowl. 

3. Cut away peel in the same way for remaining citrus. Slide a knife between membranes to release flesh. Cut grapefruit segments into thirds and lemon segments in half; leave blood orange segments whole. Add to bowl along with radicchio, parsley, olives, almonds, and shallot.

4. Toss salad with paprika oil and serve topped with cheese. 

Related: 12 Things You Can Clean With A Lemon

dried orange peels
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Dried Peels

Orange peels are intensely flavored and wonderfully versatile when dried: Combine them with other aromatics and infuse organic vodka with them for homemade cocktail bitters, throw them in boiling grains for citrusy flavor, steep them in tea, or grind them into powder to mix into spice rubs for grilled or roasted meats. To make them, leave slices of peel out to air-dry. They’ll curl and harden within a few days. Or use the oven: Spread peels on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet at 170 degrees for about 1 hour. (You can also turn them into these adorable holiday ornaments.)

Related: How Scientists Use Orange Peels To Suck Mercury Out Of The Ocean

squash and orange soup
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Curried Squash and Orange Soup with Crème FraÎche

Jenn Louis, chef-owner of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Oregon, grew up with backyard citrus trees in Los Angeles. “We had fresh orange juice every day,” she says. “We thought that was normal.” For this savory winter soup, she uses the juice, zest, and segments.

Serves 8–10

4 oranges
1 cup crème fraîche
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 large yellow onion, diced (3 cups)
½ cup olive oil or chicken fat
2 tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 pound apples (2 large), peeled and diced
1 pound winter squash (such as butternut), peeled and cubed (3 cups)
5 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. With a rasp grater, zest 2 oranges. In a small bowl, combine zest with crème fraîche, season lightly with salt, and chill. 

2. Cut away pith of zested oranges. Segment flesh by sliding a knife between membranes to release flesh; reserve. Zest and juice remaining oranges; set aside. 

3. In a large saucepan, heat onion and oil over medium. Stir in curry powder, 1½ teaspoons salt, and cayenne. Cook until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add apples, squash, stock, and reserved juice and zest. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until apples and squash are very tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender. Remove center cap and cover with a clean kitchen towel to allow steam to escape. Purée until smooth and return to saucepan. (Alternatively, purée with an immersion blender right in the saucepan.) Stir in honey, vinegar, and salt to taste.

5. Serve garnished with orange crème fraîche, reserved segments, cilantro, and pepper.

candied orange peel
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Candied Peels

These sweets are scrumptious eaten out of hand, but they also make great garnishes for cakes. Cut the peels of 4–6 oranges into strips, place them in a saucepan covered with water, and bring them to a boil. Cook for 1 minute and strain. Repeat 3 more times to remove bitterness. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, add peels, and cook for about 1 hour. Let cool and strain, reserving orange syrup for other uses, such as drinks. Spread peels on a rack set over a baking pan and air-dry until firm yet chewy, about 3 hours. Toss in sugar.

Related: How To Make Candied Citrus Peels

grilled steak with orange fennel relish
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Grilled Steak with Charred Orange-Fennel Relish

At Boston’s Townsman, chef Matt Jennings bumps up the pleasure quotient in a grilled steak with an aromatic relish of fennel, olives, and orange. (Just be sure you're choosing humane meat; these 7 appalling meat facts will convince you why it matters.)

Serves 6

Six 8-ounce New York strip steaks, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large oranges
½ large lemon
1 large bulb fennel, trimmed and quartered
1 small Spanish onion, quartered
1 large shallot, halved
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

1. Position a grill pan 5–6-inch below broiler and heat broiler to high. (Alternatively, heat grill pan on stovetop over high heat.) Season steaks with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel the citrus in large strips. Juice oranges to yield 3 tablespoons juice and lemon to yield 1 teaspoon juice; set aside. Toss peel on grill pan with fennel, onion, shallot, and canola oil.

3. Roast (or pan-roast) until tender and slightly charred, 15–20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, chop finely, and scrape into a bowl.

4. Stir in olives, olive oil, vinegar, and reserved juices. Season with salt and pepper and stir in chives. 

5. Place steaks on grill pan and cook, turning once, until seared on both sides and cooked to preferred doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes and then slice and serve with relish on the side.

orange marmalade
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Orange Marmalade

Makes three ½-pint jars

Don’t discard orange pith and seeds. Use them instead to make a good, sticky marmalade, where their flavor adds bitter zing and their pectin helps thicken the jam. Put 2 small plates in the freezer. Cut 2 medium navel oranges and 1 large lemon into ⅛–¼-inch thick slices, removing and reserving seeds. Quarter slices and transfer to a 6-quart stainless-steel pot. Tie reserved seeds into a square of cheesecloth and add it to the pot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until oranges are very soft, about 40 minutes. Stir in 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil vigorously, stirring often, until a candy thermometer reads 217–220 degrees, about 25 minutes. (To test for doneness, spread a spoonful on a frozen plate and leave at room temperature for 1 minute. It should be a soft gel. If too loose, cook 5–10 minutes longer and retest.) Remove cheesecloth bundle. Ladle marmalade into 3 sanitized half-pint jars. Seal with a lid, bring to room temperature, and store chilled for up to 1 month.

Related: 12 Tasty Things Juicing Fans Can Make With Their Leftover Pulp

boozy orange tart
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Boozy Orange Tart

Spiked with orange liqueur and topped with colorful wheels of brûléed citrus, this light and creamy tart is a centerpiece dessert.

Makes one 13" x 4" tart

5½ ounces (1¼ cups) unbleached white flour
1½ tablespoons sugar
4 ounces (½ cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
Yolk of 1 large egg
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
Pinch kosher salt
1½ cups whole milk
Yolks of 3 large eggs
2 tablespoons organic orange liqueur, such as Fruitlab
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

2 tablespoons orange marmalade (above)
¼ cup organic orange liqueur
2 or 3 mixed large Valencia and blood oranges, thinly sliced 
¼ cup sugar

1. Make crust: In a food processor, pulse flour and sugar to combine. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with 2 tablespoons ice water. With food processor running, slowly drizzle egg mixture into flour mixture. Pulse, adding more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed, until dough holds together but is not too sticky. Turn out onto parchment paper and flatten into a rectangle. Wrap in the parchment and chill at least 1 hour.

3. Make filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, zest, salt, milk, and egg yolks. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens to a pudding, about 5 minutes. 

4. Remove from heat and whisk in liqueur and the butter 1 Tbsp. at a time. Transfer to a bowl, press parchment paper directly onto surface, and chill at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

5. Grease a large, removable-bottom tart pan, about 13" x 4". On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a ⅛-inch thickness, forming a 15" x 5" rectangle. Transfer to pan, tuck into edges, and press up sides. Roll over top to trim edges. Prick bottom and sides of dough. Chill 30 minutes.

6. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover dough with parchment and top with pie weights. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment and bake until dry, 10 minutes longer. Cool completely.

7. Whisk filling to loosen. Scrape into tart shell, smooth to fill shell, and chill.

8. Make topping: In a small saucepan, combine marmalade with liqueur and cook over medium heat until melted and reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

9. Heat oven to 400 degrees Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Press each orange slice into sugar and transfer to sheet, sugar side up. Bake until caramelized, about 12 minutes. 

10. Arrange caramelized slices over top of tart. Brush tart with orange glaze. Chill until ready to serve. To serve, carefully remove from pan and transfer to a platter. Best served within 2 hours of assembling.

Related: The Easiest Pie Crust You'll Ever Make