About 3 years ago I bought a cook book by Janella Purcell called Eating for the Seasons (AU$30) and fell in love with the concept of seasonal eating. Seasonal eating allows us to enjoy a wide variety of fresh and local produce throughout the year, fuelling our bodies with nutrient rich foods that hasn’t made its way through various fumigation and quarantine check points and hasn’t been left sitting in cold stores for months on end.
Coming into Spring it is the season for citrus. My favourites deserts are Lemon Slice, Lemon Meringue and Orange and Almond Cake just to name a few. I am an absolute sucker for citrus fruits and treats, you get the idea.
As if you needed anymore excuses for whipping up a tasty citrus cake or slice other than the fact they are now in season and absolutely delicious. Here are a few great benefits that our Citrus friends can bring to the party:
Immunity and Anti-Aging
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that aids in boosting the immune system, helps with the absorption of iron and calcium. It also helps with the synthesis of collagen which helps to heal wounds. Collagen is also essential for youthful looking skin and increased absorption of collagen may aid in slowing the aging process
Weight Loss through Satiety
Pectin is a dietary fibre found in citrus fruits that can help to keep you fuller for longer by forming a gel lining in the stomach slows the digestion of food. Pectin can also assist with digestive problems as this dietary fibre adds volume and helps to soften the stool making it effective for treating both constipation or diarrhoea.
Essential Women’s Health
Folate is an essential vitamin for all women especially during pregnancy. Increased Folate intake before and during the first few months of pregnancy can help to protect your baby from Congenital Malformations including neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida.
Free Radical Fighting
Citrus fruit contains Flavonoids, specifically Hesperidin which may assist to provide protection against heart disease and cancer. Hesperidin has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and has been linked to a reduction in stroke risk.
Fluid and Electrolyte Balance
Potassium is well touted for maintaining hydration levels and electrolyte balance in the body. Fluid and electrolytes balance are essential for maintaining healthy nerve and heart function.
Finally, for your enjoyment here is my clean take on one of my favourite Nigella desserts!
Clean Flourless Cacao and Orange Cake
2 oranges (small thin-skinned, approx. 375g total weight, or 1 large)
6 large eggs
1 heaped tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
200g almond meal
150g coconut sugar (OR 200g granulated Xylitol)
50 g cacao powder
Orange peel, for decoration
1. Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft.
2. Drain the oranges, and when cool, slice the oranges in half and remove any large seeds.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C, line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper and a light coating of coconut oil
4. Place the whole oranges (Pith, peel and everything) into a food processor and blend them until they make a smooth puree.
5. Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarb soda, almond meal, coconut sugar and cacao to the orange in the food processor. Mix until combined.
6. Pour the cake batter into the pan and place it into the pre heated oven to bake for 45 mins to an hour. Check to see if the cake is ready by using the toothpick test.