Oranges, like many other citrus fruits, consist of segments of flesh, separated by a membrane known as pith. The segments are joined to the centre of the fruit, and typically each contain a few seeds, normally connected to the centre of the fruit. When using oranges for desserts especially, you would normally remove the segments from the fruit to remove the pith that is normally bitter and not enjoyable to eat. Here we will look at how to safely and easily remove the segments from the orange, ready to be used in many different ways. When segmenting an orange it is important to be careful as the fruit is very soft and can be easy to break up the segments, which if you wanted to use for garnish on a dessert would be problematic, so you should make sure to take your time.

Method

  • First make sure you have a chopping board, sharp knife and two bowls ready.
  • Use the knife to cut off the top and bottom of the orange, enough that it can lie flat and slightly expose the interior flesh. You do not want to cut too far as it will waste some of the fruit.
  • Using the knife, carefully remove the skin, by running the knife down the side of the fruit round in a circle, until the whole of the skin has been removed. When doing this, make sure to remove the skin taking as little of the fruit as you can. Put all of the trimmed skin into one of the bowls.
  • Once you have circled the whole orange, check to make sure all of the pith has been removed, and if need be use the knife to trim these parts off. 
  • Once you have a completely peeled orange, use the knife to slice into the centre of the orange working right against the line of the segment. Make sure to be very careful as this involves holding the orange whilst cutting it, so do not push any further than halfway through the orange to release the segment. Remove the knife, and repeat this action on the other side of the same segment, and once done this should allow the segment to be removed fully. PLace the removed segment into the other bowl.
  • Continue this process for every segment, until all have been removed and you have a bowl full of removed segments, squeeze the centre you have left over to get as much of the juice as you can into the segments, as this will be useful down the line for things like dressing or flavouring syrups.

Once you have your segments ready, they can be used either as a garnish, or to add a lovely fruity flavour and texture into many different types of desserts. They can be caramelised with sugar and a blowtorch, or served as part of a fruit display or salad, so orange segments can be very versatile for pastry chefs. You can use the same technique as above for any segment fruits, like grapefruit for example.

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