A single mutation in 1820 in an orchard of sweet oranges planted at a monastery in Brazil yielded the Navel Orange. The mutation causes the orange to develop a second orange at the base of the original fruit, opposite the stem. From the outside, it looks similar to the human navel, hence its name. Because the mutation left the fruit seedless, and therefore sterile, the only means available to cultivate more of this new variety is to graft cuttings onto other varieties of citrus trees. Two such cuttings of the original tree were transplanted to Riverside, California in 1870, which eventually led to worldwide popularity.

The Navel Orange peel is easily removed. Its flesh is sweet and naturally very juicy. It can be eaten out of hand, juiced, used in fruit salads, or used in jams and preserves.

Storage: Store oranges in a cool place outside the refrigerator if you will be eating them within a few days. Otherwise, refrigerate in a plastic bag or in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator.

CalNavel Orange & Date Nut Cake  – 1 C. Milk, 2 T. Vinegar, 1 C. Shortening, 1 C. Sugar, 2 Eggs, 1 t. Vanilla extract, 2-1/4 C. Flour, 1 t. Baking soda, 1 C. Walnuts or pecans, chopped, 1 C. Dates, chopped, Grated rind of 2 oranges, Juice of 2 oranges, 3/4 C. Sugar.  Preheat oven to 300°F.

Mix milk and vinegar in a bowl and let stand until soured.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add mixture of flour and baking soda alternately with soured milk, mixing well after each addition.

Stir in nuts, dates and orange rind. Spoon into greased and floured tube pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cook orange juice and 3/4 cup sugar in saucepan for 5 minutes. Pour over hot cake in pan. Let stand overnight. Remove cake to serving plates and wait for applause.

KIWI- This fruit was discovered in China, where it was considered a delicacy by the great Khans. It found its way to other countries by the mid 1800’s. First called the Chinese Gooseberry, New Zealand growers introduced this exotic fruit to specialized market places around the globe.

A California produce dealer with a penchant for Kiwi began importing New Zealand Gooseberries in 1962, and promptly re-named them “Kiwifruit,” thinking there was a great resemblance between the fuzzy fruit and the fuzzy brown kiwi bird. Today, the state of California produces nearly 98% of all Kiwi grown in the United States.

How do you eat a Kiwi? The easiest way is to rinse the kiwi, then slice it lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, scoop out the delicious flesh from each half. The skin is totally edible – simply remove the fuzz by brushing with a paper towel. And what a bonus! The Kiwi skin contains nutrients that make this healthy fruit even more nutritious.

Ripening & Storage: If the outside of the fruit “gives” with slight thumb pressure, it is ripe and ready to eat. Ripen firm Kiwi at room temperature. They keep several days at room temperature, and up to four weeks refrigerated.

Kiwi Mint Lemonade – 1 C. Water, 1/2 C. Granulated sugar, 1/2 C. Fresh mint leaves (optional), 3 Kiwi, 2 to 3 Lemons, Sparkling water.

In a medium sauce pan, heat water with sugar over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint leaves. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the kiwi and cut into chunks. Puree in a food processor. Place puree in a pitcher. Strain cooled syrup into pitcher, pressing on the mint, then discarding the leaves. Refrigerate until cold. Squeeze juice from 2 lemons. Stir into kiwifruit mix. Taste, squeeze in juice from remaining lemon for a tarter lemonade, if desired. Pour into glasses and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a kiwi slice. Makes 4 generous servings.

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