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How to Use 5 Citrus Fruits That Are Best in Wintertime

Citrus Season

Make the most of citrus season | Photo by Meredith

We all tend to associate bright and zesty citrus fruit with summertime heat (looking at you, lemonade). So, you might be surprised to discover that wintertime is actually the peak season for much of the citrus grown right here in the United States. Here are five of the most desirable fruits you should snap up while citrus season is here, plus recipe ideas to showcase their flavors. Winter's looking brighter already.

5 Citrus Fruits to Brighten Up Your Wintertime

1. Meyer Lemons

Once upon a time, a lemon fell in love with an orange, and together they produced a happy hybrid called a Meyer lemon. They're smaller, rounder, and have smoother, darker skins than your everyday lemons. Because they're also sweeter and less acidic, you might want to cut back the sugar a bit when you substitute Meyer lemons for regular lemons. And don't discard the rind; if you're not planning to use the intensely flavorful zest in a recipe right away, grate it off and freeze it for up to 6 months.

Meyer Lemon Pie

Meyer Lemon Pie | Photo by Meredith

Try these Meyer lemon recipes:
Meyer Lemon Pie
Meyer Lemon Curd
Tart Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Meyer Lemon Martini
Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Cheese Tart
Chef John's Dutch Babies
Meyer Lemon Avocado Toast
Coconut, Yam, and Leek Soup

You can also substitute Meyer lemon in any of these lemon recipes.

2. Blood Oranges

Named for the deep red color of its flesh and juice, a blood orange is lower in acid than its conventional cousins. It's also a bit sweeter, with hints of raspberry flavor. Its dark red color also makes it higher in antioxidants, but that's secondary to the visual drama it add to everything it touches. Use blood oranges in any recipe where you'd use ordinary oranges, and be prepared for major oohs and aahs.

Blood Orange Yogurt Olive Oil Cake

Blood Orange Yogurt Olive Oil Cake | Photo by Meredith

Try these blood orange recipes:
Blood Orange Yogurt Olive Oil Cake
Blood Orange Tart
Grilled Game Hens with Blood Orange and Rosemary
Citrus Salmon in Parchment
Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna with Blood Orange Sauce
Sausage-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
Blood Orange Chicken
Blood Orange Martini
Pineapple Sunrise Mimosas

You can substitute blood oranges to add drama to any of these orange recipes.

3. Kumquats

Shrink an orange down to the size of your thumb, then shape it into an oval, and you've got a kumquat. Although you can eat them whole, skin and all, they can be quite tart. In fact, some folks swear by snipping off a tip, squeezing out the sour juice and seeds, then eating the sweet skin and flesh. Their petite shape makes them awfully cute cut in half or in wedges and used to garnish everything from drinks to desserts.

Chef John's Kumquat Marmalade

Chef John's Kumquat Marmalade | Photo by Chef John

Try these kunquat recipes:
Chef John's Kumquat Marmalade
Quinoa with Kumquats and Leeks
Kumquat Salad
Bulgur Veggie Stir-Fry
Poached Tuna Steaks
Candied Kumquat Peels
Kumquat Ice Cream
Winter Fruit Salad

4. Tangerines

Tangerines (aka mandarins) come in many varieties: clementines, satsumas, and pixies, to name a few. They resemble fist-size oranges, but their loose skins make them so much easier to peel. Sweet, juicy, and ideal for grab-and-go snacking, they're also very pretty divided into segments and tossed into salads.

Tangerine Dream

Tangerine Dream | Photo by thedailygourmet

Try these tangerine recipes:
Tangerine Dream
Vicki's Tangerine Martini
Tangerine Orange Cake
Mango Tango Sorbet
Pineapple Tangerine Bread
Cute Cranberry Tangerine Muffins
Orange Shallot Marsala Pork Chops
Tangerine Peppers
Kicked Up Olives

More tangerine recipes.

5. Grapefruit

These giants of the citrus world are named for the way they grow in enormous grape-like clusters on trees. Ranging in color from pale yellow to blush-red, their juicy flesh can be eaten raw or cooked. Most grapefruit generally lean more towards tart than sweet, but a touch of sugar helps to correct the balance if tart's not to your taste. Ruby red grapefruit, however, are sweet enough to eat without extra sugar.

Three Amigos Salad

Three Amigos Salad | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

Try these grapefruit recipes:
Three Amigos Salad
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Caribbean Chicken
Thai-Style Grapefruit and Prawn
Broiled Spiced Grapefruit
Fresh Grapefruit Cake
Broiled Grapefruit Crisp
Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
Lauren's Grapefruit Margaritas
Ruby Red Grapefruit Martini

More grapefruit recipes.


Get inspired with our entire collection of citrus recipes.


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• Discover some of the more exotic citrus fruits from around the world.
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About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).