For my new subscribers: I update this newsletter 2x per week, alternating between writing advice and general recommendations.
In celebration of citrus season, I want to chat with y'all about the citrus that's been getting me through the winter.
Cara Cara Navel Oranges
The last time I moved out of my mom's house (which happens every 10 years or so (because writers... what is money?!), I went on ahead and packed up the old school electric orange juicer she'd snagged in the divorce when I was 12. This thing is from the 80s and still working without issue. And making myself fresh squeezed orange juice has become one of my pandemic acts of self-care.
There's something about the ritual of slicing the oranges – the way the knife feels gliding across the fruit and the burst of juicy fragrance as the halves fall apart, and then the repeated motion of juicing each half – that's all very comforting to me.
Also, after living in Orange County and drinking fresh squeezed juice from oranges and lemons plucked from the backyard, I just really can't go back to the carton store bought stuff. Call me a snob, but for that kind of money, I'd rather just drink a free glass of water (unless we're talking mimosas... then by all means lol).
For the past few months, I've been making my juice with Cara Cara navel oranges from Trader Joe's (but I imagine you can pick up a bag from just about anywhere). You gotta juice an entire bag of oranges for a single glass of orange juice (that's why it's so expensive!!), but these cara cara's are so juicy, I sometimes I get a glass and half out of them.
They're super sweet. And I haven't had a disappointing glass of OJ yet. In fact, I'm consistently drinking the kind of orange juice that if I paid $8 for a glass of it at a boozy brunch, I'd be pleased with it.
The thing I've noticed when I travel abroad, is that other cultures have a big fresh squeezed orange juice culture. You can almost always get it in the airport or at little shops around whatever country or city you're in. And often times, you'll see blood orange juice offered up.
Occasionally, I'll juice blood oranges, but I find I prefer to just eat them out right. They feel kind of magic too me because you never know what they're going to look like on the inside when you peel them. Some of them just have a bit of red, some are a deep purple. If you've never had a blood orange, they taste like an orange crossed with a grapefruit. So, this is the ideal for folks that aren't into anything too sweet.
These babies are EXPENSIVE! But I love me a sumo tangerine. They're as big as my fist! Each one weighs nearly a pound and when they're in season, I have one every morning for breakfast. They're easy to peel, no seeds and delicious. I've always felt like tangerines were superior to plain old oranges and sumo tangerines give me more of what I love.
I dunno why these little mandarins you can buy in the grocery store with the stem still on tastes better to me, but they do (and why I pay a premium for them). Sumo tangerine season is shorter than the rest of citrus season, so I tend to snack on mandarins until the sumos drop and then return to the mandarins once the sumos aren't around anymore. They make for nice little pocket size snacks.
I hope you venture out and try some new citrus this season and lemme know if you're already as madly in love with these fruits as I am!