Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Orange Fruit Salad with Maple-Glazed Ginger Pecans

   ... Apparently this high-fiber salad had been serving the family healthy and happy benefits for a long time! And it makes sense. The citrus fruits are full of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. The apples contain pectin, which lowers cholesterol and gives your intestines a nice sweep. Pecans contain lots of essential fatty acids that benefit brain and heart health. Throw in the Vermont maple syrup, and you have a sweet, light fruit salad that is perfect for a hot summer day, satisfying but not too heavy.


   4 servings
3 to 4 navel oranges
1 green apple, washed, cored and diced
1 red apple, washed, cored and diced
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup plain soy or coconut yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup pecan halves
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

   1. Peel 3 of the oranges and reserve 1 whole peel for garnish. Separate the sections and cut out any seeds and discard them. Cut the oranges into small chunks and put them in a strainer set over a pitcher or bowl to catch the juice while you prepare the rest of the fruit.
   2. Put the diced apples and orange pieces into a bowl. Pour the orange juice into a measuring cup you need ½ cup for the dressing. If you are short, squeeze the remaining orange until you have ½ cup. Whisk the yogurt and honey into the orange juice until smooth and pour it over the fruit. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
   3. Meanwhile, line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the pecans, maple syrup and ginger in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the syrup is sizzling and begins to turn sticky and golden brown. Keep a close watch as the syrup can burn easily. When the syrup is very thick and dark, pour the nuts out onto the lined baking sheet, separate with a fork and let cool completely.
   4. Cut the reserved orange peel into four ½-inch by 2-inch strips. To serve, divide the fruit salad among 4 serving bowls and top each with a few glazed pecans. Garnish each bowl with a twisted orange peel and serve immediately.

   Oranges are famous for their high vitamin C content, one of the most powerful antioxidants and a well-known immune system support. This delicious citrus fruit also has a wide array of phytonutrients like flavanones, anthocyanins and polyphenols. These antioxidant nutrients help protect you from the ravages of free radicals, thus protecting cells and DNA from the mutations that cause cancer. Vitamin C also supports the cardiovascular system, preventing the oxidation and hardening of cholesterol, risk factors in stroke and heart attack.