Cheer Up with Citrus

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February 5, 2019

Tart mood this winter? You’re not the only one. Thankfully Winter Citrus is here to lighten and brighten those cold weather blues! From the traditional to the unconventional, here is what this season has to offer:

Blood Orange

Don’t let the name scare you off - sweet with a crimson flesh, Blood Oranges have a hint of raspberry in their unique flavor profile. Their distinctive color is due to anthocyanin, an antioxidant pigment that develops during their ripening period. Since it develops gradually, some blood oranges are not saturated, but lined or streaked with red, and can even have hints of red spread to the peel. Served raw, they’ll add a pleasing aesthetic to any sweet or savory dish, but are equally delicious juiced or cooked. Try them in marmalade, sauces or cocktails. Available December through April.

Cara Cara Orange

First discovered in Venezuela, the alluring Cara Cara orange is exotic at heart. It’s juicy, pink flesh, the color of which comes from the carotenoid lycopene, is sweet and mildly tangy due to its low acidity. Seedless and easy to peel, this tender and succulent orange variety is easy to use in recipes, and great to snack on raw. Add it to fruit or traditional salads, use in salsa or pair with chocolate. In season December through May, it is considered a cross between the Brazilian Bahia and Washington navel.


Looking for the ideal snacking hand fruit for adults and kids alike? Meet the Clementine. Petite with a shiny peel that is easy to remove, Clementines are juicy and very sweet with little to no seeds. Once peeled, save the rind for cocktail garnishes, or zest for baked goods. The flesh is great in dessert recipes as well, and can add a citrusy pop to appetizers, as well as main dishes. The grandchild of the mandarin, Clementines are in season November through April, and only have a 2-3 day shelf life unless refrigerated.


Pucker up! Relatively miniature in size, Kumquats are bold and juicy with a sweet-tart pep in their step. The sweetness comes from their paper-thin skin, which is edible, without a hint of bitterness. The flesh, on the other hand, is intensely sour, and contains small, crunchy seeds, which are also edible. As a result, they are great sliced and added to salads. In season November through April, depending on the variety.

Minneola Tangelo

The darling of the citrus family, the bright red-orange colored Minneola Tangelo has a shape slightly resembling a bell, lending it the nickname “Honeybell.” Similar in taste to the tangerine, but with the tartness of a grapefruit, this citrus is easy to peel and has little to no seeds, making it the perfect hand fruit to eat raw. However, feel free to substitute Minneola in any recipe that calls for orange, lemon or grapefruit. Available December through April, make sure you store these in a cool, well-ventilated space.

Meyer Lemon

You can thank Frank Meyer for introducing the appropriately named Meyer Lemon to the United States in the early 20th century. Native to China, this variety is a deep, yellow color, with a semi-thin, edible peel. Being a hybrid of the mandarin orange and the traditional lemon, the Meyer Lemon’s taste brings out the best of both, with low acidity, and a soft, sweet flavor. The rind, however, has an herbal, almost spicy essence. Experiment with making a vinaigrette, incorporating this fruit into drinks or baking with it. You’ll find this variety December through May.

Sumo Citrus

Heavyweight champion of the citrus world, Sumo Citrus is one of the most prized citrus varieties in Asia. Originally developed in Japan, this fruit is large compared to its relatives, as its name suggests. A rough exterior and a unique knobby top give way to an inside that is actually quite delicate, so use caution when storing. Easy to peel and exceptionally juicy, Sumo Citrus is sweet and seedless, with flesh that pulls apart into sections effortlessly. It’s “enormously good” for breakfast, after-dinner dessert and everything in between! Find it January through April.

Stock up on nature’s vitamin C for a healthy and happy menu offering!


Written by Marianna Marchenko