Bright, colorful, juicy and light – not exactly words that are associated with winter. But this is the time of year to indulge in all types of citrus.
A stroll through the produce department offers an array of citrus just waiting to be juiced or eaten. There are several varieties of lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit. All are in season and at their peak of flavor.
When it comes to choosing citrus, the best flavor comes from citrus that has a slight give when pressed and a bit of softness. Also, when choosing fruit for juicing look for citrus that has a smoother skin – a bumpy-skinned orange or lime will yield less juice than one with smooth skin.
Here are just a few of the varieties to look for and enjoy from the FRESH produce department:
Oro Blanco Grapefruit: Less acidic than a typical grapefruit, the oro blanco is covered in a thick rind that ranges in color from green to yellow and contains a white flesh. They are juicy with a sweet to tart flesh and can be enjoyed like a grapefruit.
Melogold Grapefruit: This cross between a pomelo and a white grapefruit is extremely large with yellowish skin and pale-yellow flesh. The rind is thick, but the interior is extremely juicy. It is the sweetest grapefruit when compared to ruby red and oro blanco.
Blood Oranges: The skin of a blood orange darkens over time as the red juice from the interior begins to seep into the rind. They have a very sweet flavor and their juice is a popular ingredient in recipes. They will become sweeter and juicier as they ripen, and their skin darkens in color.
Cara Cara Oranges: Also known as red navel oranges, Cara Cara have a bright orange peel and pink-raspberry colored flesh. They have a low acid profile and undertones of cherry flavor. They are very juicy and great for sauces and drinks.
Meyer Lemons: Once grown only as ornamental garden lemons, Meyer lemons are now enjoyed for their mild, sweet, juicy flesh. Although still too tart to eat out-of-hand, the juice is a delicious additive in many recipes.
Kumquats: Just a bit larger than an olive, the kumquat looks like a tiny oval orange. It is eaten whole – skin and all. The orange flesh is juicy, acidic and tart while the skin is fragrant and sweet.
Key Limes: Although they are small the juice from a key lime is more intense than the juice from a regular lime. Most often used in cooking, the key lime is also more fragrant and less acidic.
Tangerines/Mandarins: A member of the mandarin family, there are many varieties of tangerines that include honey, Minneola, neapolitan, satsuma and Ojai pixie. They vary in flavor from sweet to tart and typically have a sweet, clean fragrance. A bit larger than mandarins, the tangerines are easy to peel and often seedless.
Clementines: The smallest member of the mandarin family, clementines are often imported from Spain, North Africa or Morocco. Also called “Cuties,” this is a brand of clementines that are grown in California. They are small and easy to peel with less juice than most oranges and are best enjoyed when peeled and eaten in sections.
Oranges: Most popular varieties include navel and Valencia. The Valencia orange typically yields more juice. Navel oranges have a thicker skin and are great for eating.