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Pre-Peeled Oranges vs. Convenience Foods That Are Actually Worth It

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When Whole Foods debuted pre-peeled oranges last week, things quickly went sour. Critics condemned the wasteful packaging—especially since oranges come with their own all-natural protective cover—and the sheer laziness that would compel one to purchase such a product.

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Because let’s be real: Peeling oranges just isn't hard. It’s a single-serving food that requires no equipment and minimal mess. Plus, we have to get our finger exercise in somehow—how else will we tone our thumbs for ice-cream-in-the-air pics this summer?

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Needless to say, the product was quickly yanked from shelves. But it got us thinking about the convenience items that do find their way into our grocery carts. We’re not talking about finished products, like bread or pasta sauce—just ingredients that have been given a little help along.

Like bottled lemon juice. Think about it: Juicing a lemon requires a knife, a press (or a tolerance for really sticky fingers), and a bowl to collect the drippings. That’s a lot of dishes for just a tablespoon or two. True, the bottled stuff never tastes as fresh, and many chefs advise against using it. But while you shouldn’t be dumping whole cups of pre-squeezed juice into your lemon bars, it probably won’t ruin a soup that just needs a splash to brighten things up.

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And while I’ll gladly peel an orange, I can't say the same about prepping a pineapple. I sure do get tired of mincing garlic (and subsequently smelling it on my fingers) at almost every meal (and hey, even the author of Koreatown says we shouldn't be afraid of a jar of the pre-minced stuff). And I know pre-shredded cheese might pale in taste and texture compared to its fresh-off-the-block brethren… but it’s so easy to add to an omelet.

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We took to Twitter to find out which convenience foods you love, and you agreed: 50% of you said that shredded cheese finds it way into your grocery carts.

Do you agree? What staples would you add to this list?