If you grew up in Arizona, you probably remember memorizing our great state’s “5 C’s” somewhere in your elementary school career. If you never learned the 5 C’s, they are five main products or elements of Arizona’s environment critical to the state’s economy, namely:
While each of these five alliterative elements bring great value to the 48th state, here at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum, we happen to have a favorite. Can you guess which ‘C’ we love best?
Citrus fruits, as you may know, are an excellent source of vitamin C, the piece of our dietary puzzle that maintains healthy skin and gums and even helps prevent cardiovascular disease. But there are far more benefits to eating grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes than just a dose of one vitamin. These fruits also boast an impressive amount of fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. Plus, they score low on the Glycemic Index scale, meaning that eating them won’t spike your blood sugar.
Here in the Phoenix area, we’re fortunate to enjoy the sunny goodness of citrus season all winter long. The balmy climate of Maricopa County allows for the cultivation of numerous types of citrus–sometimes even several varieties grafted onto one tree. And we have good reason to be proud of our citrus production. Arizona is one of only four citrus-producing states in the nation. (California, Florida, and Texas are the other three.)
So while we can get it fresh and local, why not use our abundant citrus in some heart-healthy recipes? Here are three options to get you started:
Can’t get on the avocado-toast-for-breakfast train? Maybe all your taste buds need is the addition of a bit of sweetness! Pomegranate nibs and grapefruit slices put a unique, sweeter twist on this healthy breakfast.
Orange + pickled vegetables + chicken. Taco Tuesday will never be the same.
Before we know it, asparagus will be in season at the same time as citrus. These ruddy green stalks are traditionally harvested in springtime and make an excellent counterpart to the tangy lightness of lemon.
Do you have a citrus tree near you? Know someone who does? How do you like to take advantage of this gem of a winter crop?