As a Chef and Florida native, no day is complete without a generous gulp of fresh 100% Florida Orange Juice. I’ve been drinking it for as long as I can remember. With the Amazing 5 — Taste, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, No Added Sugar — Florida OJ’s nutritional value is an important part of my family’s diet. Its freshness and tastiness is something I rely on in my recipes and my restaurants.
When I was a kid, my parents emphasized food and nutrition. Every weekend we would pick berries, buy local honey, and drive to the closest citrus groves to get fresh squeezed juice. Nothing tastes more delicious than the flavor of something you can tell was picked at just the right moment—like every sip of 100% Florida OJ.
Nutrition, locally harvested ingredients and whole foods are essential to everything I prepare, in my home and at my restaurants. There’s so much you can do with the natural goodness of 100% Florida OJ. It’s a delicious and healthy base for all kinds of recipes. I use it in smoothies because it adds important vitamins and other nutrients, and for me, it balances out the other ingredients’ flavors with natural sweetness so the smoothie always turns out just right.
I make my son smoothies after school and for soccer to renew his energy. A simple blend of Florida OJ, bananas or berries and a small handful of spinach or kale create a delicious, chilled drink he downs in seconds (he doesn’t really know about the greens but at 3 I don’t really need to tell him.)
I also love juicing early in the morning. A quick whirl of beets and mint in the juicer and a hefty splash of Florida OJ ensures that he is well on his way to getting the daily nutrients he needs for the start of a very busy toddler’s day at preschool. I always make it a double and take the extra glass on my way out the door to help me stay energized on the go.
Heading into the New Year, I want to share some of my favorite ways to use Florida OJ as part of my healthy diet to help support a healthy immune system throughout the colder months.
3 Fresh Smoothie Recipes:
1) Kale or spinach, pineapple, mint and fresh Florida OJ
- ¼ cup frozen pineapple
- 1 cup kale (tough stems removed, chopped) or spinach leaves
- 4 mint leaves
- 2 cups orange juice
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
2) Fresh squeezed carrot, fresh Florida OJ and ginger
- 1 cup freshly-juiced carrots
- ¼ inch piece of ginger, juiced with the carrot
- 2 cups orange juice
3) Fresh Florida OJ, yogurt, vanilla
- 1 ½ cups orange juice
- ½ cup yogurt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Whisk together. Serve cold or freeze.
What I love about a yogurt and orange juice smoothie is its versatility. I drink it as a smoothie and my son has it after soccer as a frozen snack. It freezes beautifully, tastes like ice cream and it’s so good for him.
Florida OJ is also great for salad dressings, marinades, reductions for any proteins and on just about everything. It’s truly luscious in desserts and it allows you to add less sugar when making delicious sweet recipes. I also love making desserts without flour to keep them a little light but still filled with flavor thanks to the juice and citrus zest.
Most of all, I know that drinking and creating with 100% Florida Orange Juice is one thing I can feel good about because I know I am doing my best to help keep my family’s nutrition in check and my menu fresh and flavorful. It’s the one gift I can give!
image: Jessica Peterson / Getty