citrus


  • Not much grows in the win­ter besides pota­toes and cit­rus fruits. From the won­der­ful king­dom of juicy, tart, and sweet cit­rus, Blood Oranges rule them all. This week, David John talks about these rich-​colored flesh fruits.
  • Tart and tangy, with an under­ly­ing sweet­ness, win­ter grape­fruit offer bright­ness to the cold days of Jan­u­ary.

    This juicy piece of cit­rus shines by pro­mot­ing good nutri­tion while deliv­er­ing a zippy taste.

    Orig­i­nally known as “the for­bid­den fruit”, grape­fruit made its way to the United States in the early 1800’s via the Span­ish and French set­tlers who brought seeds to Florida.

    From there, Span­ish mis­sion­ar­ies are cred­ited for bring­ing grape­fruit west to Texas, Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia.

    Although avail­able year-​round, they are in sea­son and at their best from win­ter through early spring.
  • Color affects both emo­tions and mood. Win­ter is no rea­son to for­feit bright col­ors. It may well be the absolute best time of year to strut the most vibrant hues on the color chart.

    Cit­rus is at peak of sea­son in avail­abil­ity and taste. Use the many vari­eties to lift spir­its, boost immu­nity and improve menus.

    Out of hand snack­ing is made con­ve­nient with portable “easy peel” vari­etals. This includes navel oranges, man­darins and tan­ger­ines.

    Navel oranges have a sunny fla­vor with a touch of acid­ity. These seed­less fruits are per­fect for mak­ing any dreary day a bit cheerier. A fan favorite, they are burst­ing with unreal juicy sweet­ness.

    Cara Cara oranges are very sweet with pinkish-​red fruit flesh. They have hints of berry and flo­ral fla­vors for a cit­rus change of pace. Con­sider seg­ments added to yogurt, com­potes and desserts.
  • The 2019 Lunar New Year starts on the fifth of Feb­ru­ary. Com­ing off the Year of the Dog, this is the begin­ning of the Year of the Pig in the Chi­nese zodiac. The ele­ment for the year is Earth.

    The promise for the new year is one of joy, cel­e­bra­tion and suc­cess in all areas of life.

    The pig (known also as the boar) is said to be gen­er­ous, social and sta­ble.

    An Earth Pig year com­bines a real­is­tic but happy-​go-​lucky socia­ble pig com­bined with the steady and sen­si­ble char­ac­ter­is­tics of Earth, it her­alds a reward­ing and pros­per­ous year. This will be a year to enjoy friend­ships and social con­tacts and come together for the com­mon good.
  • Before we know it, Cal­i­for­nia grown cit­rus fruits will have to make room for cher­ries, berries and stone fruits. For now, the plea­sure is in cit­rus.

    Good news then that Cara Cara and blood oranges are not the only hand fruits we can indulge in for the next few weeks.

    The Golden Nugget man­darin is an excep­tional, late sea­son vari­ety that is worth the recent atten­tion and new found pop­u­lar­ity.

    Char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, it is roughly rounded in shape and rather bumpy in exte­rior tex­ture. Its skin is golden orange, aro­matic and easy to peel. Its eas­ily seg­mented flesh is deep orange, ten­der, juicy, extremely sweet and always seedless.
  • Fes­tiv­i­ties of the sea­son yield to indulging in hol­i­day cheer. Hot and cold bev­er­ages, alco­holic and non, have grown up by using bet­ter ingre­di­ents.

    Craft cock­tails dis­tin­guish them­selves by their bold inclu­sions of fresh, well-​balanced ingre­di­ents.

    Happy hour has got­ten more cheer­ful by elim­i­nat­ing pre­dictable canned juices and pow­dered mixes.

    Try fresh blood oranges, tan­ger­ines, lemons, limes, grape­fruits, and even mel­ons for the body or base of a cock­tail or hol­i­day bev­er­age. With purer fla­vors and col­ors, there are no addi­tional addi­tives and preser­v­a­tives to weigh down or mask the drinks. Antiox­i­dants and polyphe­nols from most fresh fruits are just an added bonus.

    Small batched drinks using house-​made syrups and infu­sions are keep­ing it real. Shaken or stirred, even the ice mat­ters more these days. Pre­ferred are the large, clean cubes that don’t rapidly melt and dilute the drink.
    From mulled wines to sparkling drinks, unpack a lineup of good sips through fresh, sea­sonal and bold fla­vors. Fresh herbs add excite­ment and awaken the senses. Mint, rose­mary and thyme, whole or mud­dle, impart a unique taste pro­file. Pome­gran­ate juice and arils come to mind.
  • Cal­i­for­nia cit­rus vari­eties are so worth the mar­ket­ing hype. Navel oranges in par­tic­u­lar have been the stead­fast fruit we’ve come to rely on for healthy win­ter snack­ing.

    Out­side the navel mar­gins are so many juicy cit­rus hand fruits that excite the food world.

    Sat­suma man­darins are a Cal­i­for­nia lovely. Believe it or not, they may have first arrived here 700 years ago from Japan via Jesuits who planted them on the banks of the Mis­sis­sippi River in New Orleans.

    Grow­ers in the Golden State took it from there. This loose-​skinned, sub-​acid fruit has a zip­per peel and is seed­less. What more can one ask for except the minia­ture size is per­fect for sin­gle serve snack­ing.

    Com­pared to oranges in gen­eral, man­darins tend to be smaller in size, have a looser peel, and are less tart. They orig­i­nated in the Far East and were orig­i­nally exported through North Africa, where they were all tagged with the name “tan­ger­ine,” from the city of Tang­iers.

    The name “tan­ger­ine” has become less generic and is now usu­ally applied to only one kind of man­darin orange. Retail­ers have come to mar­ket the dif­fer­ent cul­ti­vars by so called brand names. While all tan­ger­ines are man­darins, not all man­darins are tangerines.
  • What’s a sip of mojito or slice of key lime pie with­out the bright­ness of fresh lime juice? Lack­ing for starters.

    Lucky then that limes are avail­able year round to impart their aro­matic, tangy good­ness.

    Under­stand­ing the vari­etal dif­fer­ences in limes might be use­ful for the best choices in culi­nary appli­ca­tions.

    Although there are other cit­rus species that are referred to as “limes”, the Per­sian lime is the most widely cul­ti­vated lime species com­mer­cially grown. It accounts for the largest share of the fruits sold as limes.

    Extremely fla­vor­ful, Per­sian limes are a key ingre­di­ent in regional cuisines world­wide. Also known as Tahit­ian or Bearss, Per­sian limes deliver an intensely tart fla­vor to your dishes and cock­tails. Typ­i­cally sold while still dark green, they become light green to a mild yel­low as they ripen.

  • ‘Tis the sea­son for serv­ing up spe­cial treats for every hol­i­day fes­tiv­ity. Snacks, drinks and baked goods have per­mis­sion to go a lit­tle hol­i­day crazy.

    Ordi­nary bev­er­ages and plain Jane snack foods get a waver on being one hun­dred per­cent healthy this time of year.

    The addi­tion of alco­hol, sugar and but­ter adds up over the extended hol­i­day period. From din­ner par­ties and open houses to office potlucks and neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ings, con­sump­tion of those off limit ingre­di­ents is off the charts.

    Good news then that pro­duce offer­ings give us a chance to include some fla­vor boost­ers that are rel­a­tively harm­less. If not for calo­ries alone, their wel­comed pos­i­tive affects seem to present “magic pow­ers”.

    The peels of cit­rus fruits such as oranges, man­darins, tan­ger­ines, lemons and grape­fruit con­tain potently scented nat­ural oils that release into the air when the peel is bro­ken. Their scent has been proven to be a pow­er­ful mood booster.
  • Hun­ker­ing down to avoid the win­ter dol­drums requires a cer­tain amount of self-​awareness. Dreary, cold Jan­u­ary days sup­press high spir­its and kill spunk.

    Need a quick boost? Skip the day spa and go straight to the fruit bowl. A shot of sun­shine and bright­ness is just a peel away.

    Cit­rus ther­apy invig­o­rates the senses and tricks the mind into ener­gized, warmer thoughts.

    A sim­ple act of reach­ing for any type of cit­rus– orange, man­darin or grape­fruit– sets a tone for self care and good health. This choice, above other salty or sweet snack options, rein­forces good behav­ior and new year res­o­lu­tions.

    Break­ing open the skin of any easy to peel cit­rus fruit releases a burst of oil. Aro­matic and clean, the fra­grance is at once wel­com­ing and familiar.
  • Another four to five weeks of win­ter ahead means there is still plenty of time to enjoy late sea­son cit­rus fruits.

    The increas­ing demand for man­darins is tes­ta­ment to the per­fect gem of a snack or lunch box treat.

    Man­darins are known for their sweet fla­vor and dis­tinc­tive fra­grance. Easy peel skins and bite size seg­ments make man­darins a pop­u­lar go to pick for cit­rus fans of all ages.

    Lucky that there are late sea­son vari­eties to grab our atten­tion amidst the crowded space of apples and pears. These juicy fruits can be added to every­thing from fruit sal­ads to stir fries — jams and pre­serves to win­ter cock­tails.

    One late comer, that is new on the scene at this point in the cit­rus har­vest is the Gold Nugget man­darin. Cal­i­for­nia grown, this seed­less, sweet tan­ger­ine named after its bright orange, slightly bumpy rind.

    This hybrid is a cross between two non-​commercial. It was devel­oped by the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at River­side. The Gold Nugget is a great juicer, aver­ag­ing a 50 per­cent juice con­tent. The fruit itself has a deep orange color inte­rior flesh with a mod­er­ately fine tex­ture. Pro­fes­sional taste pan­els con­sider this to be one of the very best fla­vored cit­rus’ in the world with a rich, full-​bodied taste.