Photo Orange Wedge by Adria Ariste Santacreu, 2008
When there are no locally grown fruits to be had in the dead of winter, I turn to oranges from California. Eating a perfectly ripe, juicy orange is like eating a piece of sunshine, wouldn’t you say? Because I am impatient to eat them and don’t always feel like digging my fingers into the peel, I use a knife to make the job faster and cleaner.
1) First, give the orange a rinse under the faucet and pat it dry. Imagine the orange as a globe with a north and south pole. With a sharp knife, cut off small parts of the north and south poles, preserving the juicy insides while removing the rind and part of the white inner layer. The poles are now flat, and the orange could sit on the counter without rolling away.
Let the light of each day be orange-tinted, and man’s heart, a cluster of fruit, both bitter and sweet: fountain of freshness, may it hold and preserve the mysterious simplicity of the earth and the pure unity of an orange.
Pablo Neruda, Ode to the Orange (1954), translated by George Schade (1996)
2) Holding the orange in one hand and a sharp knife in the other, score the rind from south to north, pole to pole, evenly spacing about 6 cuts around the globe. Take the knife through the rind and white layer, just barely cutting into the juicy part of the orange. Cutting from south to north keeps the knife moving away from the hand that’s holding the orange. If you don’t have sharp knife, a serrated one may work best to make clean cuts and keep the knife from slipping.
3) Once the orange is scored all the way around, set the knife down. Starting at one of the poles, peel the rind away, one long piece at a time.
4) When the rind has been removed, place the orange on a cutting board and cut it into 4 or 8 sections. Don’t worry about trying to cut along the natural section lines.
If you’re taking your orange on the go, prepare it with steps 1 and 2. Peel it right before eating, and use your thumbs to separate the fruit into sections for eating.