Oranges are available year-round, but in winter they’re a welcome bright spot. Choose fruit that feels heavy for its size. Skin color isn’t a reliable sign of ripeness: In some states (Florida, for one), dyeing oranges is legal; in Arizona and in California, it isn’t. Surprisingly, an orange with a greenish cast may be sweeter and riper than one that’s uniformly orange, its skin having started to turn green if the ripe fruit hung on the tree along with the blossoms. Oranges can make your cooking more vibrant. For a peppy salad, toss segments with thinly sliced fennel, chicory, and an orange vinaigrette. Combine softened butter, grated orange zest, orange juice, and tarragon for a tasty compound butter to smear under the skin of a roasting chicken or on a seared salmon fillet. Drizzle segments with warm chocolate sauce for a simple dessert.
To segment an orange cleanly, see the video Segment Citrus Fruits for Salads or Salsas.