Ever wondered how to make those pretty round and slivered orange slices you see on restaurant salads? There are two easy ways to make attractive orange slices – the round cut and the supreme cut (pronouced soo-prehm, not su-preem). I’ve provided a detailed photo tutorial for both cuts below. But first, a little orange history!
During the California Gold Rush, oranges in particular were in high demand, as they were known to be useful in fighting off scurvy, a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C. This helped give citrus a business boost, but it was the navel orange that truly put California citrus on the map. This large, seedless and easy to peel citrus fruit is a mutant of a variety originally found growing in Brazil. When suffragette Eliza Tibbets and her husband Luther moved to Riverside, California to escape the cold Northeast climate, she wrote the USDA asking for trees that would grow well in the California weather. USDA botanist and superintendent of horticulture William Saunders sent her the seedlings from the Brazilian tree that would later produce Washington Navel Oranges. Rumor has it that Eliza watered her trees with dishwater, but nevertheless they grew to become a very important piece of citrus history. One of Eliza’s trees can still be found growing in downtown Riverside. I wonder if Saunders knew at the time that his small gesture to Eliza would eventually become the foundation of a citrus empire?
We are certainly lucky this all happened, for it led to the popular seedless navel oranges we consume today! Here is a tutorial for slicing oranges beautifully. You can apply these principals to slicing pretty much any citrus fruit. Here’s how!
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- Start by rinsing your fruit and patting dry.
- Remove the ends from the fruit and discard, be sure you are cutting away enough of the peel so that the flesh is now visible.
- Stand the fruit upright on one of the flat ends. Cut away a section of the peel from the top all the way down to your cutting board. Be sure that you are making a clean slice and removing all of the white pith.
- Use this first slice as a guide to remove the rest of the peel and pith. Make slices all the way around the fruit until all of the peel and pith are gone.
- Once the peel and pith have been removed, lay the orange on its side and cut it into slices, as thick or thin as you like.
- You can also cut your orange into sections, or supremes, by making slices on either side of the membrane that separates the orange sections.
- This will give you beautifully sliced, visually appealing oranges without the thick white membranes, perfect for adorning salads and desserts.