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Oooooooooh.

Oranges, oats, onions. Three big Os.

Oranges

Oranges - the much loved fruit that has been the centre of every breakfast table, fruit salad, child's lunchbox, sports match half-time refresh and more.

They are one of the world's most popular fruits (no surprises there) and are both tasty and nutritious.

The orange season is extensive with different varieties being available at different times of the year - or should I say, tasting best when they are in season. Below is a quick outline of some of the different varieties (of which there are MANY!) and when they are in season.


Navel oranges - November to June

Valencia oranges - March into October

Cara Cara oranges - December to May.

Clementine and Satsuma oranges - October o December/January (that's why these are famously good around Christmas!)


Oranges below to the citrus family. They tend to be grown in most warm regions of the world and are often eaten either fresh or as a juice.


Benefits of eating oranges

There are many benefits to eating oranges.

They are mainly composes of carbohydrates and water (the carbs are in the form of natural sugars - think fructose, glucose and sucrose). They contain very little protein and fat and are very low calorie so are good to include as part of a healthy diet.


Oranges are a great source of fibre.

One large oranges accounts for about 18% of your recommended daily fibre intake. Dietary fibre has many benefits for helping to lower cholesterol, aiding weight loss and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.


Oranges help maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage

Oranges contain huge levels of Vitamin C - one large orange contains 100% of recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is important when it comes to cell health, it is responsible for boosting antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, maintaining healthy skin, protecting against eye disease and many other potential health risks.


Simple ways to incorporate oranges in to your diet:

There are many ways in which you can include eating oranges in your diet as they can be consumed on their own, with other foods or indeed as a fresh juice.

Here are four simple ways to help inspire you to eat more oranges!


1. Keep a bowl on the kitchen table or on the sideboard - by seeing the fruit in front of you, it will act as a prompt to pick up something from the fruit bowl before reaching in to the cupboard for perhaps something less healthy.

2. Make a fresh fruit salad that you can dig in to for breakfast, post lunch or as an afternoon snack or maybe just whenever you are feeling peckish.

3. Use orange slices in a salad - add some nuts - toasted flaked almonds, hazelnuts, mint, a light balsamic or citrus vinagrette and a little crumbled cheese like feta. The sweet citrus complements the savoury saltiness so well!

4. Make a fresh orange juice. It is bursting with flavour and so refreshing. It also means there are no additives or preservatives added. However it is important to make sure you don't just eat the juice all the time as it leaves out the fibre which is the important part. Also endless glasses of juice still only count as one of your 5-a-day, no matter how many you've drunk!


Oats


The humble humble oat but oh my goodness - are they good for you!

Baked oats, overnight oats, oat milk, porridge, oatcakes, oatmeal pancakes - the list goes on with the first three being somewhat of a 'food trend' to jump on the bandwagon of. But there is for good reason. Oats might be humble but they certainly pack one hell of a punch when it comes to benefits for your body. They can also be used in some many dishes from breakfast & brunch

They're rammed full of fibre, can be used in so many dishes from breakfast & brunch to puddings and even Indian inspired curries and risotto - they have a varied and rightful place on ever kitchen table.

What are the health benefits of eating oats?

With a stellar nutritional value and list of health benefits as long as my arm - they're certainly something to add in to your diet. I'll list a few which you might find useful below.

Oats are great for aiding weight loss

Oats help slow digestion and rate at which nutrients are absorbed which helps make you feel fuller for longer meaning that you want to eat less often.

Oats can help keep a healthy heart

Studies have been shown that eating whole-oat sources of soluble fibre can help to lower total cholesterol which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Oats can help lower blood pressure

Oats have a high level of anti-oxidants. These specific anti-oxidants may play a role in helping to keep blood pressure low in the body.

There are many other benefits to eating oats too such as helping keep digestion optimal too.


Quick Eats: Overnight Oats

The buzz word that is on every foodie's profile seems to be overnight oats. A delicious comforting soaked oat, muesli-style breakfast that can be made in advance with no-cooking. By soaking the oats it helps the oats to absorb the liquid which allows them to soften enough in order to not need to cook them.

It will also keep for a few days in the fridge so you can make it at the beginning of the week then keep tucking in throughout - not having to worry about what having to skip breakfast because you don't have time to make it.

It's a really simple recipe and you can mix it up however you feel swapping toppings in and out as you please. If you're really pushed for time - you only need to let the oats soak for 2 hours - but overnight will make them even creamier.

You'll need: oats, milk, yoghurt, (option to add in chia seeds), some sort of sweetener (should you want it) and an array of toppings including nuts, berries, peanut/nut butters, fruit, seeds, spices and the rest.

Follow this simple recipe here and let the creativity flow.


What to do with left over porridge?

A great way to use left over porridge is to make it in to a bread loaf making a super simple no knead dough. The bread loaf will last a few days and stay fresh then you can use it as toast - or you can slice it and freeze it - getting a slice out as and when you need. You need so few ingredients too!

Follow this simple recipe here.


Onion

Onions are a great food. They are a brilliant way to add flavour and sweetness to dishes. And when it comes to cooking often form the 'base' of a lot of dishes. The classic ' chop and soften an onion which often is the starting line in many a recipe.

They are part of the allium family - so also related to chives, garlic and leeks.


They're great for tarts, soups, gravies, salads, side-dishes. You name it, onion probably features.


They come in all sorts sizes, shapes and flavours. Different varieties can be called upon for different uses.


It's commonly known that onions often make you cry when chopping them. This is because they release a sulphur compound which when it comes in to contact with your eyes, makes you cry.

There are certain tricks to help minimise this - firstly using less sulphurous varieties of onions and secondly by refrigerating or freezing onions, it helps slow down the enzymes responsible for this reaction.


It is rare but sometimes people can be allergic or intolerant to onions - and if you have a reaction after eating them, be sure to seek medical attention.


Food hack: Pre-chop onion and store in the freezer

A great way to preserve onion and even save time on cooking is to pre-chop it then freeze it already chopped.


This can save so much time when it comes to prepping meals - as you just need to grab a handful out of the freezer and add to your dishes. As the onions start to often the steam released helps them to cook too.


Quick eats: Onion Tart

A delicious, creamy tart which is packed full of softened, sweet onions. There is something about the combination of rich buttery pastry, creamy eggy mixture and soft sweet onions which just works.


Easy to make but so much satisfaction when you eat it!


Try out this BBC Good Food recipe here.

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