Oranges are not the only fruit

So I made an endive and orange salad for dinner yesterday, and I thought it would be a nice excuse to show you how to clean oranges the professional way, ending up with those pretty little segments without skins. I didn’t figure out how to do this until I was 32, and my mother still doesn’t get it. But it’s pretty awesome.

Orange peelThe type of orange doesn’t matter. I always buy what we call “juicing oranges”, because oranges that are meant to be held in the hand while eating them tend to be less juicy (because of messiness). And I like juicy.

So yeah, this is going to be messy. If you have sensory difficulties with dirty and/or sticky hands, keep the tap running so you can rinse your hands whenever you need to.

First sliceFirst, you need to cut away the white rind. It takes some getting used to, but if you start with cutting the “top” of the orange off, you can see exactly how thickly you need to peel this baby. I always peel the oranges over a bowl, so I can catch the juice as well. I did mention that this is going to get messy, right?

Once you have gotten all of the white rind off, you can hold the orange in one hand and take a sharp knife to slice close to the white “divider” thingie.
Second sliceThis is actually the skin of one of the segments. Don’t worry about slicing very closely to the “divider”, you’re going to end up with different size segments anyway because nature is chaotic like that. So just slice somewhere next to it and don’t worry about not getting it right the first time.

Third sliceNext, you’re going to do the exact same on the opposite side of the segment. So because I’m right-handed, first I slice on the right of the “divider”, then I move to the right and slice on the LEFT side of the next “divider”. (I’d really appreciate suggestions on how to call these, by the way. Divider sounds idiotic). If you’re left-handed, it’s probably easier to mirror this.

Once you’ve made those two slices, you can simply lift out your orange segment with a flick of your knife.

Then you can move on to the next segment, again making a slice right of the “divider”. You can see the thickness of the segment skin in the picture.

Orange leftoversKeep on working your way down through all the segments, and keep rinsing your hands if you need to, because they’re going to be covered in orange juice.

If you used the same trick as me, doing this above a big bowl, you’re going to end up with:

  1. About 7-9 pretty orange segments without skins
  2. A big bowl of juice
  3. A weird flowerlike orange leftover thing!

I will do a follow-up post for the endive salad, which is also pretty awesome but I know most people hate endives.

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11 thoughts on “Oranges are not the only fruit

    • Thanks! It’s also a sensory issue for me, because the skins on orange segments tend to be fairly chewy. And orange/mandarin slices from a tin tend to be overly sweet. I really like the tartness of fresh oranges!

  1. I peel oranges differently: slice off the top and bottom and then, with the orange sitting on one of the sliced ends, follow the curve with the knife to remove the peel. Not sure if there’s a proper name for the “dividers” — always just called the outside of the segments the membrane. (Although where I come from in the North of England we usually referred to the segments as kittlings which is a Lancashire dialect word.)

  2. Pingback: The Salad Variations | autisticook

  3. Thanks for this post! I had no idea how to do unpeeled orange slices, and the pictures seem very clear.

    Slightly related: I get happy when I peel an orange in one perfect spiral (peel undivided).

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