Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh My Darling, Clementine

As the holiday season comes to an end, most people get back into their old routines, and seek comfort from the cold in their apartments. For me, this often means less time at the Farmer’s Market and ultimately, less fruits and veggies- oh no!

However brutal, the cold weather does signal the season for one of my favorite little fruits: the clementine. Packed in a wooden box, clementines (the smallest of the mandarin orange family) are the perfect winter fruit.

Why have You Done a Good Thing?

Clementines last for a while and do not need to be refrigerated, so you can have fresh fruit in the house without braving the cold. They are packed with vitamin C, the powerful antioxidant that helps fight off the winter sniffles. They also contain some potassium, which keeps your electrolytes in check and plays a big role in muscle contraction. The orange color of this fruit gives away its beta-carotene content, which helps our vision, especially as we age.

They are a great low-calorie snack (at only 35 calories for a little one!) that is easy to throw into a bag, lunch box, or briefcase- plus they are super easy to peel (great for kids!). And don’t worry, they should have no seeds (unless naughty bees have cross-pollinated the tree). Looking for something sweet after a savory meal? They are the perfect dessert sans calories plus vitamins and minerals.

Buy them when they are:

-Shiny and bright orange

-Firm with a slight give to the push

Besides eating clementines plain, you can

-Put them in a salad

-Squeeze out the juice and add olive oil, salt and pepper, for a dressing

-Eat them in oatmeal

-Chop them up into Greek yogurt

-Add them into a couscous or grain salad

-Celebrate Meatless Monday? Mix them with black beans and sautéed onions & pepper for a fiber-filled vegetarian meal.

Buy a box today and enjoy them while staying warm!

--Samantha Jacobs, RD

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