The Imperfect Digest

Educating and connecting our community.

Winter Citrus 101

Winter Citrus 101

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Citrus season’s timing always feels like a gift from Mother Nature. Just when it gets cold, the fruit world heats up again! Sparkling zesty flavors never fail to brighten a dish or a mood, especially as the days shorten and we retreat into cozy fabrics. We hope this handy citrus cheat sheet helps you make the most of citrus season this year.

Navel Oranges

Sweet and relatively seedless, navel oranges are the most commonly found citrus featured at the grocery store. Great eaten plain, they’re highly versatile and can be used in most citrus recipes where you’re not after a ton of acidity. For a simple but impressive dessert, combine them with grapefruit to make a citrus tart in this Grapefruit Orange Crostata.

Valencia Oranges

Most frequently used for juicing because they’re a bit more difficult to peel, these sweet oranges are also perfectly good for snacking if sliced. They’re also a popular choice for marmalade, like this Valencia Orange Marmalade.

Blood Oranges

Best known for their stunning ruby flesh, blood oranges are a sweet and deeply flavored variety that punch above their weight when used as an aesthetic show-stopper in a dish or cocktail. They’re at their best when used in large pieces where their color can shine. They also add drama to a savory dish, like this Charred Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges or in a memorable side dish like Shaved Carrots with Charred Dates.

Cara Caras

A variety of navel oranges featuring a beautiful interior and few seeds, Cara Caras are a real treat whenever they’re around. Take advantage of their flavor profile when you want a refreshing burst of citrus flavor without too much acidity. Savor how wonderful they look and taste by combining them with blood oranges in this Cara Cara and Blood Orange Salad with Ricotta Salata.

Mandarin Oranges

Small and sweet, with some seeds, they make perfect snacks, and also great served whole as a festive dessert in this Candied Mandarin Oranges with Cranberries recipe.

Ruby Red Grapefruits

Heralded by some as the sweetest grapefruit variety, their brightly toned flesh is often less red than pink. Grapefruits are highly versatile in a variety of dishes due to their distinctive bittersweet and tart flavor. Their juice is excellent in cocktails, and their unique bittersweet quality plays equally well in sweet and savory flavor combinations. Their color plays well with jewel toned beets in this Roasted Beets with Grapefruit and Rosemary recipe.

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