I’ve always wondered why the brightest, sunniest fruit is so abundant during the darkest, coldest time of year. Citrus is at its peak of flavor, and January is definitely the month to indulge.
A stroll through the produce department offers an array of citrus just waiting to be juiced or eaten. There are plenty of lemons, lime, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit, but there are also some wonderful varieties that are unfamiliar.
When it comes to choosing citrus, the best flavor comes from fruit 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.
FRESH is offering a variety of citrus, including seedless lemons, blood oranges, kumquats and three varieties of grapefruit, as well as several types of tangerines, clementines and other oranges.
Many of the types of citrus listed below are available at FRESH but are very seasonal. So, hurry in before you’re left waiting for next year.
Pummelo Grapefruit: Larger than typical grapefruit, the pummelo’s skin ranges from yellow to bright green. It has a very thick rind and a light pink flesh. It is juicier and sweeter than other varieties of grapefruit.
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 as their skin darkens in color.
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: 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. They are best enjoyed when peeled and eaten in sections.
Oranges: Most popular varieties include navel and Valencia. The Valencia oranges typically yield more juice. Navel oranges have a thicker skin and are great for eating.