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A Guide to Winter Citrus

FEATURED PRODUCE: A Guide to Winter Citrus

Citrus fruit is at its sweetest, juiciest peak in the cold winter months.

From Texas Red Grapefruit to Minneola tangelos, the citrus options that fill the produce department are strong sources of fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium, as well as anti-oxidants and many other vitamins and minerals.

Add slices of citrus fruit to fish before baking, or use them to stuff a whole chicken. Squeeze the fresh juice into a sauce or soup, taking care to wait until it’s finished cooking to ensure it doesn’t turn bitter. Zest or grate the fresh citrus peels into a dressing or sauce to boost flavor.

Enjoy your favorites, try something new and use them in your kitchen all season long with our guide to citrus fruit to taste this winter:

Cara Cara Oranges

On the outside, the Cara Cara Navel Orange displays a bright orange peel, similar to other navels. Cut it open and you’ll notice its distinct pinkish-red flesh. Bite into a wedge and you’ll find that its low-acid content yields an exceptionally sweet taste with just a hint of tanginess. Considered a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel, this seedless variety was discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela.

Serve them in wedges for a snack or dessert, or squeeze them into sparkling water to add a sweet flavor and beautiful color to your beverage. Or add them to an Asian-inspired salad with shredded cabbage, shaved fennel, red peppers, and a vinaigrette dressing with sesame oil and lime.

Minneola Tangelos

Generally, tangelos are a cross between a type of tangerine and a type of grapefruit called a pomelo, and the name takes on a piece of each one. Specifically, the Minneola tangelo is a cross between a Dancy tangerine and a Duncan grapefruit, and it has stronger grapefruit notes.

Sweet, tart and juicy, Minneola tangelos are seedless and easy to peel. Toss them into lunchboxes or enjoy them on the go. Serve them in salads with spinach or arugula, combined with other citrus varieties. Or highlight them in a tropical salsa to pair with chicken or seafood.

Texas Red Grapefruit

Grapefruit is considered a cross between a pomelo and an orange. This fruit has been grown in Texas in the Rio Grande Valley for around a century. The Texas Ruby Red was the first grapefruit to ever receive a patent in 1929, coming from a mutation on a single tree. This fruit is sweeter than other grapefruit varieties because it is lower in a compound known as naringin, which typically yields a bitter flavor.

Slice it in half and serve as is with a spoon, or sprinkle a brown sugar on top and broil for some added sweetness and depth. Add grapefruit sections to a kale salad or make a grapefruit salsa or compote to top chicken or fish or serve with flank steak.

Blood Oranges

Known for its deeper color and distinctive flavor that combines citrus with a berry-like quality, blood oranges have a tougher peel than other orange varieties. Their darker flesh is thanks to anti-oxidants called anthocyanins, which don’t usually appear in citrus fruits.

Squeeze their sweet juice into seltzer or a cocktail. Pair segments of blood orange with seared duck breast or nestle them between chicken breasts before baking in the oven. Blood oranges are also ripe for including in dessert recipes, such as fresh sorbet or pound cake.

Sumo Oranges

Developed in Japan, sumo oranges are now grown on family farms in California. This large mandarin-type variety has a bumpy rind and distinctive knob on top. It’s also easy to peel – usually in one piece – and naturally seedless. Sumos appear rough, but they are actually delicate and extremely sweet. This low-acid citrus fruit is great for snacking on the go. Slice them with fennel and toasted walnuts for a sweet salad, or enjoy them with yogurt for breakfast.