Kitchen & Pantry

How to segment an orange

Segmenting an orange can mean either of three things. First, you peel the fruit by pulling off the skin then you you separate the segments by prying them apart. Then, you cut through the pith and eat the flesh inside. Depending on the variety of orange the pith can be thin and fine that it is edible.

Second, you cut the orange — rind and all — into wedges. You suck the juice while gently tugging at the flesh with your teeth to get as much of the pulp bits into your mouth.

Third, you cut off the rind and pith then you make incisions in the shape of an inverted “V” between the parts of the pith that separate each segment so that you get slivers of juicy flesh with no pith at all.

The first two are quite self-explanatory (I don’t know of anyone who can’t manage both procedures without an illustrated guide) but the third may require a little practice.

So, let’s segment an orange, shall we?

First, cut off the rind AND the pith. You have to do this with short swift sawing motions — not one slicing motion — because you have follow the curve of the fruit. By the time you’ve cut around the entire orange, there shouldn’t be any white pith attached to the flesh.

Now, cut the top and bottom as well.

Let’s zoom in on that orange. The piths — the lighter-colored vertical lines that separate each segment — are visible.

Hold your knife diagonally. Make the first cut to the right of the first line of pith. Cut as near the pith as you can. Then, make a second cut to the left of the next pith. And you get a pith-free segment. Repeat until you’ve gone around the entire fruit.

The remainder of the fruit, the chunk from where the segments have been cut off, are still full of juice. You can squeeze it with your hand (or use a juicer if you really have to) to extract all the juice that you can.

The rind that had been cut off is still useful too. Use a small sharp knife to to cut off as much of the orange rind making sure to avoid the white pith underneath. Citrus rinds are great for baking, cooking and making sauces and syrups. You can also dry them to make a natural air freshener and room deodorizer. That’s what Speedy does when he has lots of lemon or lime rinds when he mixes cocktail drinks.

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