Saturday, July 12, 2008

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

I love orange juice—real orange juice, like the kind you can buy in the US by the gallon. A glass of that orangy goodness, perhaps fused with other fruits like strawberry or pineapple, along with an American-style breakfast is unbeatable. Sometimes I would drink several glasses a day because my body was craving the sweet, power-packed vitamin C kick. And thanks to the facility of natural orange juice, I never really had the desire to eat oranges as a fruit. There are several reasons that have attributed to this feeling towards oranges:

1. I never learned how to peel one and I think it’s often too much work for what it’s worth, I don’t even know how old I was when I first had to figure out how to even get to the part of the orange that is edible.

2. I absolutely hate the white part of the orange. Call me racist if you want, but I can’t stand the rind for the life of me. A fruit that has a bitter layer surrounding it which is also almost impossible to remove is just not appealing.

3. It is a pain to try and separate the orange slices without a ton of juice squirting out everywhere,

4. It’s basically just a different form of drinking the orange juice I used to buy at the grocery store, only in the actul fruit, there is less juice per serving, and it is all contained in the little fleshy parts of the orange. Drinking a glass of Tropicana was just so much more fulfilling (and easy).

That said, I now eat an orange on average 3 times per week. Why might you ask?—Especially after actually taking the time to list out my prejudice against the baseball-size fruit. Well, it is now the most convenient way to get my orange juice kick. Natural juice in Chile (contrary to what restaurant menus might say) is practically nonexistent. What they call jugo (juice) here is really nectar—yes like what you give to hummingbirds—with less than 20% juice, and the rest of the liter full of water and sugar. It is more like a thickened version of Kool-aid than anything resembling Tropicana. And since it is not very practical to squeeze my own orange juice every day, I have simply had to learn how to peel an orange efficiently...and surprisingly it has worked out well. I’ve even developed my own method to peeling an orange. Enjoy the following...(and don’t worry, I won’t mind if you laugh at my silly technique, the most important thing is that it works):

--> Necessary materials include an orange, a plate or cutting board, and a knife.

--> First I cut off each end of the orange (where the little knob is, you know what I’m talking about). I make sure that at least on one of the ends, I can see a flower figure of the orange slices.

--> Then I score the outer part of the orange where it appears that each orange slice ends and another begins. I make the score from top to bottom, deep enough to almost puncture the inner flesh. I do this for each orange slice, or the majority of them anyway.

--> I begin peeling away the outer part with my fingers, using the scores that I made as a guide to take off the whole piece of the rind. Sometimes that outer layer isn’t as easy to take off, which means that a lot of white rind is left over (boo).

--> Once I get all the pieces off, I begin to search for those patches of white rind that drive me crazy. I scrape them off with my nails until thoroughly satisfied with the result.

--> I then slowly try to extract the first orange slice—which is always the most difficult. If I need help, I gently make a cut on either side of the slice to help it release easier. And if I puncture the flesh (which is more likely than not) oh well, it’s just one down for the team. Following the removal of the first slice, I gently peel apart the other slices and vualah: I have just peeled an orange...all by myself!

Mmmmmm just writing about that orangy goodness makes me want to eat one. Oh, but that is where more problems come into play because I can never take a bite of an orange slice—I have to eat the whole thing at once, no matter how big, because I can’t stand it when juice goes squirting all over my hands and face. Most of the time when I do this, juice goes squirting into my throat causing me to almost choke on it as I try to eat it as nonchalantly as possible while at work. What colorful drama I have!


Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.