Oranges and lemons were first brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers. Today the United States is among the world’s top citrus growers and consumers. To choose the best citrus select fruit that is heavy and not too soft. When selecting oranges don’t worry about the color, as it is not a good indicator of how tasty the orange will be. For lemons and limes the juiciest fruit gives a little when you gently squeeze them. I like to roll lemons and limes around on the counter with the palm of my hand to loosen up the juice before cutting into them.
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are the most commonly found citrus fruits. Lemons, limes, and oranges come into season just when we need them the most, when days are short and the weather is cold. Rich in vitamin C and fiber, they add a zesty boost to almost any meal. During the winter months, look for other varieties, such as blood oranges, Key limes, and Meyer lemons, as well as grapefruit-like pomelos and tiny kumquats.
We need vitamin C to stay healthy and citrus fruit is a delicious way to add lots of this vital nutrient to your diet. Start the day with orange juice, add a squeeze of lemon to warm water later in the day, or pack grapefruit sections to enjoy as a snack at work or school.
Citrus stars in everything from sweet and savory dishes to non-food uses. Simmer slices of lemons, limes, and oranges in water to use as a natural air freshener, use lemon juice as a gentle alternative to laundry bleach, or combine lemon juice with olive oil to use as furniture polish.
Much of the citrus flavor is in the zest. Finely grate the peel and add to anything that needs a punch of citrus flavor. To get perfectly grated zest without bitter white pith, use a fine zester.
Make your own flavored salt by processing coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, and citrus zest in a food processor. Add this mix to soups, stews, meats and pasta dishes.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove large strips of peel and add to hot tea, mulled wine, soups, and stews to add bold flavor.
To segment citrus like a pro cut a thin slice from either end of the fruit to make a base. Pare away the peel and white part of the rind. Cut into the fruit center between one section and the membrane. Cut along the other side, between section and membrane. Repeat.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved