If you’re like me and live in most parts of the country, the next couple of months probably have you dreaming of tropical islands and warmer temps. Unfortunately, we have a little way to go before Mother Nature cooperates. This is why I love that the winter months are when citrus fruit is in season. Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and their cousins are like bursts of sunshine for your taste buds. An added bonus is that these fruits are all packed with Vitamin C–a great benefit during the cold and flu season!
While most citrus fruits can readily be found in supermarkets throughout the year, it is December through March when they are considered in season and at their peak of flavor. One variety I enjoy this time of year that is particularly hard to find other months (and definitely not nearly as tasty) is the clementine. Clementines are a variety of the Mandarin orange. They are small and easy to peel like a tangerine, but are seedless. This makes them an ideal lunchbox or after-school treat for kids. Their flavor while in season is very sweet and the fruit is quite juicy, making them a personal favorite.
Don’t stop at enjoying in season citrus fruit by itself, incorporate it into different recipes. The sweetness of the fruit works very well in a variety of salads like this one from Fruits & Veggies–More Matters, Mixed Greens with Oranges & White Beans. You can serve this as a side salad for dinner or as a lunch entree.
Another way to use citrus is in a smoothie. This Power Gold Smoothie recipe uses fresh orange juice as one of the ingredients. Grated carrot, honey, pineapple juice and low-fat yogurt make this an energy boost drink to start your day or to help pump up your workout.
Another thing to keep in mind with citrus fruit is that they are great for adding flavor to your recipes. Lemon zest, for example, can be added to baked goods. Lime juice is a great substitution for salt in many recipes. Your Produce Man demonstrates how to boost the juice from your lemon and limes when juicing them in this quick how-to video.
Whether you enjoy a fresh grapefruit for breakfast or a variety of different citrus fruit in a fruit salad, make sure you visit your supermarket over the next month or two and pick some up while they’re at low prices and great flavor!