Filled with bright citrus flavor, canned oranges are a deliciously juicy pantry staple. Apart from being a convenient option, canned oranges retain their vitamin C content far beyond those of the fresh variety. Of course the delightful, sunshine flavor works beautifully in various desserts and baked goods. But canned oranges also shine in a savory salad, and it's an excellent way to use up any cans that have taken up permanent residency in your pantry.
Using canned oranges in your salad is effortless. Simply open the can, strain the orange segments from the liquid, and reserve it for smoothies or bakes if you're so inclined. Then, toss the segments straight on a salad. Keep in mind the sugary nature of canned oranges, particularly mandarin oranges, can taste exceptionally sweet. This must be balanced with either sour, bitter, spicy, or salty flavors. For instance, an arugula salad filled with crumbled feta and a tangy garlic dressing would be gloriously refreshed with canned orange. The peppery greens, salty cheese, and savory vinaigrette temper the exaggerated sweetness.
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What Else Pairs With Canned Oranges?
Canned mandarin oranges work wonderfully in a roasted beet salad layered with vibrant shades of purple. Beets are rich in earthy aromas and get a slightly candied edge once roasted. To offset the sweetness of the main components, this combination would be complemented by an acidic and tangy balsamic dressing.
Try a Sicilian-style salad where raw fennel and briny olives marry with oranges. Or maybe a mandarin chicken salad with crunchy lettuce, cabbage, and sliced almonds, topped with an umami-packed dressing. Texture is an important consideration, particularly since canned oranges are so soft and juicy. Having a texture that contrasts the oranges makes a huge difference, whether that's crunchy sliced onion, pistachios, chewy dried cranberries, or crispy toasted pumpkin seeds.
If you're apprehensive about the sweet nature of the oranges overpowering the savory essence of your salad, you can always strain the pieces and rinse with water first. This will lower the sugar content and tame those sweet aromas. It's also important to note that once opened, canned oranges should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and used within seven days.
Instead of wasting the glorious juice from the canned orange tin, blend it into a salad dressing. The sweet citrus flavor works nicely to balance the sharp acids used to make vinaigrettes. However, before you start mixing away, it's crucial to grasp the flavor distinctions between canned oranges with light and medium syrup bases, versus those in a water-based solution.
Oranges packed in water only risk having their bright flavor diluted. Oranges packed in a light to medium syrup will vary from naturally sweet, to overpoweringly sweet, respectively. While you can work to balance these exceptionally sweet oranges with certain savory or spicy ingredients, it may be best to use a moderate variety of canned oranges. It gives you more room to play with aromas in a dressing or salad, and offers the flexibility to add sweetness from other sources (such as honey).
The days of using canned oranges only for desserts are long gone. Bring vibrancy to your salads by using this fun, flavorful ingredient on a regular basis.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.