Girona is about 250 miles north of Valencia, and Valencia is, of course, the Land of Orange. So is Girona, given the proximity.
It’s May, and Valencias are in season (they’re the only orange that ripens in the summer). Orange trees abound here, but so does the fruit itself. Every market, no matter how small, has a display of oranges out front. We see people on bicycles everywhere with bags of them in baskets.
Here in Spain, the largest cell-phone carrier isn’t Verizon or AT&T. It’s Orange.
But the best part is the eating. Grab an orange, slice it into “smiles,” and let it explode in your mouth. Better yet, juice it. We’ve stayed in many furnished apartments, but this is the first one that came equipped with an electric juicer. All restaurants here have them too: lob oranges into the basket on top, NBA-style, and press a button. Juice comes out one side; peels come out the other.
Valencias were hybridized (not originally in Valencia, but in California) for juicing. Nothing else comes close. Picked in the heat of the day, fresh and warm from a juicer, Valencia orange juice is as indulgent as skinny dipping and better for you.
And then there’s marmalade. There are scores of brands in every store. Bakeries slather pastries with it. Most of it around here is the product of micro-manufacturing: jars with gingham seals and hand-printed labels. I haven’t seen the word “Smuckers” since we arrived. We bought a jar of marmalade the day after we moved to Spain and I spread it on toast (fresh from the bakery — another indulgence) every morning.
So yes, I’m a junkie. Marmalade and juice in the morning. Smiles all day. An occasional screwdriver in the evening. Oranges look good in the tree or in a basket, and taste good no matter what’s done with them or when.
This is The Land of Orange. I’m Tom and I’m an addict. Commit me if it’s deserved, but don’t lock me up without a bag of oranges. Valencias, please.
(Photo credit marmalade: Wikimedia Commons)
Anita Blanchard said:
Wow, new information. I didn’t know that Valencia’s were the only orange that ripened in the summer. I haven’t ever made orange marmalade. A new preserving adventure awaits. I mean, if they were hybridized in California, they must show up around here. I am betting they aren’t quite as warmly tree ripened and I didn’t ever pay attention, associating oranges and winter. We did have the first strawberries from the garden yesterday. I don’t believe we have had any rain so far in May. Very pleasant, but very unusual and the ground is uncharacteristically dry as I try to get ahead of the spring weeds.
Anita, thanks for the comment. Yes, Valencias ripen in the summer (navels ripen in the winter). And do try a marmalade recipe. Oranges are sweet and contain their own pectin. Be sure to include some rind to give it a bit of a bite!
Anita Blanchard said:
I’m going to search the web for Spanish marmalade recipes and compare them with the ones I have in my canning books. Another reason I have ignored summer oranges (besides the higher prices) is that I assumed they were imported from South America and really like to eat seasonally. Oh, we did get our first rain in the early evening, yesterday. Less than a quarter of an inch, but the clouds, coolness and moisture are feeling good right now.
The Frisky Geezer said:
Eager to hear about your success!
This tableware belongs in The Land of Orange:
Gotta have it!!
Still on my must-see list is Valencia which I heard from a friend is certainly worth a visit. I would love to try making those marmalade from Valencia oranges. 😉
Come on down to Spain, Malou. We’ll all hop aboard a train and travel down to Valencia, pack up a couple of big bags of oranges and bring them back to Girona, and cook all day until we have a year’s supply of marmalade.