Need a little sunshine this winter? Hit the produce department right now. This is the best time of year to buy oranges and winter citrus, and every variety is at its peak.
Citrus fruits brighten up your winter salads, soups, alcohol-free beverages, and pretty much whatever you’re making. Plus, citrus packs powerful health benefits, beyond its well-known boatload of vitamin C.
Studies show citrus protects our cells against damage and inflammation, which means they can help prevent and fight diabetes, atherosclerosis, and even cancer.
Citrus is also a great source of fiber, which helps support gut health, as well as managing your cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight. Plus, citrus delivers lots of other vitamins and nutrients, including potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
Contemplate Beyond the Navel
Sure, we love our navel oranges, Cara Cara oranges, Meyer lemons and Key limes. But there’s so much more in the citrus section. Here are a few really special lesser-known varieties of citrus that we’re pretty excited about, and we hope you’ll give them a try.
Sumo Mandarin Oranges (aka Shiranui)
Whether you call them Sumo, Shiranui, or Dekopan mandarins, these fruits are definitely worth talking about. They come from very patient growers—in fact it takes four years of nurturing before a Sumo citrus tree produces its fruit. But once it does, that fruit is a total knockout. Big, sweet, and seedless, the skin peels off as easily as a wrestler’s robe. Grab these winners while you can during Sumo orange season—they’ll be gone by spring.
Go for the MeloGold Grapefruit
What do you get when you cross a low-acid pomelo with a white grapefruit? You get this hybrid beauty, named Melo for its sweet, mellow flavor, and Gold for the deep yellow color of its skin when they fully turn color. If you like a lower-acid grapefruit, this juicy, sweet-tart is your new best friend. Try it in this Crab, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad (chef’s kiss goes here).
Wondering about lemons vs Meyer lemons? Pondering how to pick a Cara Cara orange? Our produce people are always happy to answer your questions and give you tastes. Just ask!
Love for the Valentine Pomelo
Looking like an oversized, thick-skinned grapefruit, the Valentine Pomelo ripens around Valentine's Day, and if you cut it crosswise, you’ll usually see a section of red pulp in the shape of a heart.
Eat them the same way you would a grapefruit—sliced-in-half and scooped, sectioned, juiced or chopped. Toss segments with other tropical fruits like mango and coconut, and herbs such as cilantro and mint. Freeze it into a refreshing sorbet or mix it into a cocktail. Choose one that feels heavy, smells a bit floral, and has no blemishes, and you’ll be smitten.
It's “Juicy Crunch” Time
40 years in the making and worth every moment of that R and D, Juicy Crunch Tangerines are about the sweetest citrus fruits we know of. Like off-the-charts sweet, with just the perfect acid level to even the whole thing out. They’re easy to peel, easy to section, and virtually seedless, too. The fruit world is buzzing about this new pick, and we think you’re going to love it, too.