If I were to say "oranges," a lot of people would think, "Sunkist." This not-for-profit cooperative of California and Arizona citrus growers is celebrating 100 years in business.

Today there are 6,000 members, making Sunkist the largest marketing cooperatives in the world's fruit and vegetable industry. By banding into a cooperative, the growers have more clout when it comes to promoting a brand name and developing a worldwide market.

In 1893, independent growers banded together to form the Southern California Fruit Exchange. It was in 1908 that the exchange's ad agency coined the name Sunkist.

To celebrate, Sunkist is hosting a citrus-themed photo competition. You can submit an original photo of yourself with some type of creative "Sunkist Smile" — that's an orange wedge in your mouth, at sunkist.com.

The grand prize is a travel package to anywhere in Asia, and the winning photos will be displayed on the Reuters Sign at Times Square in New York City. I'm not sure that it's an honor to have a gigantic image of someone's mouth stuffed with an orange wedge flashed for all to gawk at. But to each his own.

Although you can find citrus fruit year-round in grocery stores, we're in the peak season for oranges and grapefruit. For the juiciest citrus, select firm, thin-skinned fruit that's heavy for its size. The best grapefruit is smooth-skinned and flatter on both ends.

Citrus fruits are sold ripe and ready to eat. They can be stored at cool temperatures (60-70 degrees) for up to a week, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

A medium orange contains more than a full day's supply of vitamin C, all within 62 calories.

One lemon also supplies 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. In addition, it contains 157 milligrams of potassium and just 22 calories. A tablespoon of fresh lemon juice has 4 calories and no sodium. If you're watching your fat or sodium intake, a squirt of lemon is a good way to perk up a dish without adding lots of butter or salt.

Today you can find a wider variety of citrus in the marketplace than ever before. The little clementines, also sold as "cuties" in this area, are perfect for snacking because they're so sweet and easy to peel. But you can also find the large yellow pummelos, deep orange tangerines and blood oranges with their deep maroon flesh.

I personally love eating oranges and grapefruit plain, without a lot of embellishment. But here's a recipe, if you're in the mood to celebrate the 100th anniversary.


3 oranges, peeled and sectioned

2 smaller grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 8-ounce containers fat-free lemon yogurt

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Combine sectioned fruit in medium bowl. Add marmalade and vanilla and stir gently to coat all citrus sections. Spoon equal amount into 4 glasses or fruit bowls. Spoon and spread 4 ounces lemon yogurt on top of each portion and top with shredded coconut. Chill for 20-30 minute before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 299 calories, 1.2 grams fat, 4 percent calories from fat, 2 percent protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 69 grams carbohydrates, 2 mg cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 107 mg sodium. — Sunkist

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