Citrus to Brighten a Cold Winter Day
Think winter foods and rich, hearty comfort foods definitely come to mind. This season we’re celebrating the often overlooked delicious fruit group that really shines in the winter, citrus. Check out our guide to these more esoteric, tangy fruits, where you can find them, and some great provisions we recommend you try this winter.
This small, sweet citrus variety is thought to be a crossbreed between a lemon and an orange. Originated in China and imported into the United States in 1908 by F.N. Meyer (after who it is named), Meyer lemons are rounder and smaller than most conventional lemons and are most frequently sold at specialty stores and farmer’s markets. Though you can substitute their juice for lemon juice in recipes, be aware that their juice is much less acidic and tangy. We recommend swapping them in for desserts, cooking them into jam, or even making a beautiful tablescape or display with them—before using them, of course!
Product to try: Meyer Lemon Curd
Also known as the calamondin, this citrus fruit hails from Southeast Asia, though it is grown in California and Florida as well. Young calamansi can be bright green, orange, or yellowish, with thin skin and size similar to a lime. Their sour taste possesses notes of both lime and lemon flavors. While you’re not likely to come across Calamansi at your local grocery store, they are often sold at Asian and other specialty markets. Calamansi is used widely in Filipino cuisine in dishes both sweet and savory. Treat a calamansi as you would a lemon: Use it to brighten dishes, flavor desserts (make sure to use plenty of sweetness to balance it out), and as a base for lemonade.
In terms of appearance, this bumpy, green, pear-shaped citrus gives the Buddha’s hand a run for its money. Also known as the kaffir lime, it is most often used for its leaves, which are used dried or fresh in Southeast Asian dishes (primarily curries) for their aromatic, floral flavor. The rind is also used in cooking, while the flesh is not generally used in culinary preparations.
Product to try: Blackberry Lime Curd
Clementines are a specialty breed of orange that is only available for a couple of months out of the year, late November through early January, and are often called “Christmas oranges” because they are just reaching their peak during the Christmas holiday. Many people will make preserves or cook sauces that can be frozen with these rare fruits so that they can enjoy the Clementines all year round. These tiny bright orange fruits are known for their sweetness and their bright orange color. Clementines are one of the few varieties of citrus fruits that are seedless. Sometimes Clementines are called seedless tangerines because they are small and have a bright orange color like tangerines but are seedless. Because they are seedless and easy to peel Clementines are the ideal citrus fruit for kids who are just learning how to eat on their own.
Product to try: Cranberry Clementine Preserves
This large, round citrus hails from Malaysia and has more than a passing resemblance to the grapefruit, of which it’s thought to be an ancestor. The pomelo, also known as “shaddock” or Chinese grapefruit, varies both in size and color—the thick skin is often bright green or brownish-yellow while the flesh can be yellowish or bright pink. Similar to grapefruit, the texture inside can be juicy or dry, depending on its ripeness and growing environment, and the flavor can be sparklingly tart or very sweet but is almost always less sour than a grapefruit. When purchasing a pomelo, make sure to choose a relatively unmarked fruit that feels heavy, and stick to the winter months when they are at their prime. Treat a pomelo as you would a grapefruit: Eat it plain, use it to brighten up a salad, or even throw it on a grill for a caramelized texture and flavor.
We love the tangy orange flavor and gorgeous dark red hue of this citrus, and use it seasonally whenever we can. The blood orange is usually grown in the Mediterranean or, more recently, in California, and can be eaten plain or used in cooking. We love pairing it with other seasonal produce in grain salads or flavoring dressings and sauces with its tangy juice.