Quick Guide to Citrus Fruits
familiar oranges are the most popular of our citrus fruits. They are
nutritional, versatile, and keep well. Popular varieties include Valencia,
navel, temple, and blood oranges.
The navel orange
is best as an eating orange since its sweet pulp tends to turn a little
bitter when the juice is exposed to air. Valencia oranges are enjoyed
for both eating and juicing. The blood orange is a hybrid with an orange
and red rind and reddish flesh and some people think, a touch of raspberry-like
flavor. The temple orange is a flavorful orange-tangerine hybrid.
As with most citrus
fruits, choose oranges that are heavy for their size indicating juiciness
and those without soft spots or defects in the skin.
tip: If you are squeezing oranges for morning juice, stop and
grate the zest from several first. The zest can be frozen for months
to be used in a variety of recipes from cookies to casseroles.
tip: When grating the zest from oranges or lemons, remove only
the outer, colored portion of the rind. The white pithy layer is bitter.
Oranges have been
crossed with other citrus fruits to create a wonderful array of related
fruits. Citrus fruits related to or crossed with oranges include:
oranges are small sweet oranges with a loose skin. They have
a light orange color and a complex, sweet flavor. The Satsuma, Honey
and Royal are the three major mandarin varieties.
Mandarins are often
imported. In the United States, mandarins are grown in Florida and California
but are sold mostly to canneries and unavailable to consumers. If you
can find fresh U.S. fruit, buy it.
are a type of mandarin orange. They are red-orange and have a distinctive
flavor. They are usually available as early as Thanksgiving and include
Fairchild and Dancy varieties.
tip: Add tangerine segments to coleslaw or tuna salad for a bright,
are a cross between a tangerine, a grapefruit and an orange. They are
noted for their juiciness and mild, sweet flavor. Orlandos are a popular
variety of tangelos.
tip: Freshly grated tangelo peel lends an exotic flavor to other
Ugli fruits are a specific type of tangelo. They have a loose skin which is often
discolored and pock-marked and is often odd-shaped. Don’t let
that fool you; it has a very sweet, citrus taste. It is seedless and
is great for snacks or salads. They peel easily or can be cut in half
and eaten like a grapefruit.
tip: Children are fascinated with ugli fruits. Children find
both the name and odd appearance intriguing and the flavor and texture
of the fruit, appealing.
are a type of small, seedless mandarins with very sweet flesh. They
are a cross between an orange and a Chinese mandarin. The taste is distinctive
from both a mandarin and a tangerine. They are usually imported from
Spain, Morocco, and other parts of North Africa.
are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. They can be recognized
by their pear or bell shape. They are about three inches in diameter
and a bright reddish-orange. They are closely related to tangelos.
and Lime Family
Lemons with their
bright yellow fruit are our second most popular citrus. There are two
major varieties sold in the United States, the Lisbon and Eureka, which
are so similar that they are difficult to tell apart. You may find a
Meyer lemon which a cross between a lemon and an orange or mandarin.
They are less acidic and will taste sweeter.
tip: Try squeezing fresh lemon on salads and steamed vegetables
in place of part or all of the salt or butter. In doing so, you will
reduce your salt and fat intake.
Rough lemons are,
as the name suggests, lemons with a rough skin. Cultivated in the tropics,
they are round and larger than domestic lemons but used the same way.
are shaped like lemons but are green, smaller, and have both more sugar
and more acid. There are two main varieties of limes: Mexican or Key
limes and Persian limes. Key limes are famous for Key lime pie. Most
limes in the grocery store are Persians.
tip: Use the rind of juiced limes to clean your copper-bottomed
Leech Limes are larger than limes with a wart-like skin.
Good quality grapefruit
have a smooth, firm, and shiny skin. Pick grapefruit that are medium
to large and that feel heavy for their size.
tip: When shopping, avoid fruit with a dull or wrinkled skin.
Pick fruits that are heavy for their size. It’s not necessary
to avoid fruits with green on the skin as the color does not indicate
have a smooth yellow skin and a flesh that is pale yellow and tart.
Red grapefruit are sweet, tart, and juicy with a pink to red
flesh. Ruby, Star Ruby, and Rio Red are popular varieties.
tip: Researchers have found that red grapefruits have more antioxidants
than white grapefruits. These antioxidants are thought to lower cholesterol
and reduce heart disease.
also called Chinese grapefruit, are the largest citrus fruit! The peel
is thick and green on the outside, while the interior is either white
or pink. Pummelos are slightly milder tasting than regular grapefruit
and are very aromatic.
are a cross between a pummelo and a white grapefruit. It is
shaped like a grapefruit and juicy. Because it has less acid than a
grapefruit, the sugar is more dominant and the taste is sweeter.