Brighten your winter by taking advantage of the abundance of delicious and fragrant citrus fruits that are in season this time of year.
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and keeps your skin healthy. They are also a good source of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and aids digestion.
This high acid fruit category contains numerous types and varieties to choose from. For example, did you know, there are over 400 types of oranges in the world?!
Your typical citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges can usually be found year rounds at your typical grocery store. However, there are many rare and wonderful varieties to keep an eye out for, most of which can be a tasty new substitute for the more familiar favorites.
Here are a few:
The pomelo, a close relative of the grapefruit, is the largest of all citrus fruits. In fact, they can get as big as a basketball and weigh up to two pounds. They are the least acidic of the citrus fruits without the tangy, bitterness grapefruits are associated with. They are sweet and tart, with a distinctive floral aroma. In Thailand, fresh pomelo is often eaten with a pinch of salt and chili powder, or add them to a salad for a burst of citrus flavor.
Cara Cara Orange
A Cara Cara Orange is the result of the cross-pollination of a Washington Navel Orange and a Brazilian Bahia Navel Orange. They look like regular oranges on the outside, but with pink or red seedless flesh on the inside. The pink color is due to the natural presence of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. They’re super sweet and juicy, but with low acidity.
Kumquat look like tiny oblong-shaped oranges. They tend to be extra sweet on the outside and quite tart on the inside. Unlike other types of citrus, the peel on these tiny fruits is edible, making them a handy snack. You can also slice them thin and toss them in a salad, or even cook them down into a chutney.
While the ugli fruit is not exactly appetizing in appearance, its combination of flavors makes up for any physical shortcomings. Ugli fruit is a Jamaican version of a tangelo with a thick wrinkled yellow and green skin. The pulp can range from yellow to orange, and its taste is often described as sweet and tangy with slight notes of bitterness.
This bizarre-looking fruit contains neither pulp nor juice. It’s made up of a yellow rind and white pith. It is extremely fragrant and its zest adds a lovely lemon blossom-like flavor to dishes. It can be used in any preparation that calls for citrus zest and its peel can be candied.
The name comes from the fact that they are about the size and shape of a stubby finger. Its skin is thin, ranging in color from red to purple or green (a darker color indicates that the fruit grew in a cooler climate). Inside are round pearls of citrus (juice vesicles) that look just caviar and have a pleasant crunch and a bright, acidic flavor. They make an elegant garnish for raw oysters, sushi, or any dish really for a pop of citrus and an aesthetic presentation.
These visually stunning lemons have a yellow and green streaked skin that becomes a deeper yellow as it ripens. Pink lemons taste slightly less tart than regular lemons with a more fruity, floral flavor. Unfortunately, the juice runs clear, not pink, however, they work great in desserts, or as a pretty garnish.