When you think of citrus, you may envision bright colors, refreshing aromas, and tangy flavors that add a bright acidity to any dish. In fact, lemon juice is one of my “little secrets” that I add to sauces and soups to add depth and compexity. Citrus can be used in many creative ways, plus contains some wonderful health benefits.
While I am not a nutritionist or expert in medicine, I feel I can share with you some interesting facts about citrus I have found. For starters, citrus is renowned for its high vitamin C content, which helps boost our immune system, promotes collagen production for healthy skin, and enhances iron absorption. Loaded with antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids, citrus combats free radicals in our bodies, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. The potassium in citrus supports heart health by regulating blood pressure, while the soluble fiber content aids in managing cholesterol levels. Lastly, with a high water content, citrus fruit is a fantastic choice to keep you hydrated and refreshed throughout the day.
Popular Citrus Varieties
There is an array of citrus fruits to explore, each with its unique flavor profile. Some popular citrus varieties include:
- Oranges: Juicy and sweet, oranges are the epitome of classic citrus goodness, perfect for snacking or juicing.
- Grapefruits: Known for their tangy and slightly bitter taste, grapefruits add a refreshing twist to both sweet and savory dishes.
- Lemons: With their vibrant yellow color and zesty flavor, lemons are a kitchen staple, adding brightness to countless recipes.
- Limes: Limes offer a distinct tartness that enlivens everything from beverages to marinades and desserts.
- Mandarins and Clementines: These small, easy-to-peel delights are sweet and seedless, making them an ideal grab-and-go snack.
I will revisit some of my past citrus recipes, as well as share some new ones. The great thing about living in Arizona, is we can enjoy citrus year-round, and some of us, can even walk into our backyards to pick a lemon off the tree whenever needed!
- Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken: One of my favorite recipes for roasted chicken is by Bon Apetit here. What could be better than a succulent roasted chicken marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs?
2. Chicken Piccata with Preserved Lemons: This chicken piccata recipe from one of my previous posts has quickly become a family favorite. And I literally put the preserved lemons in just about every sauce and soup for an extra special zing!
4. Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing: This salad comes together beautifully for entertaining with friends and family during our mild winter months in the AZ desert. Serve with whipped goat cheese, slices of baguette, and olives.
Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing
- 2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced
- 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
- 2 mandarine oranges, peeled, sectioned
- 1 small red onion, sliced in thin wedges
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 3 tbsp EVOO
- lime juice, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Peel citrus by first cutting off just enough of the nub ends to expose the fruit. Carefully cut off the peel by following the curve of the fruit all around. Slice into ¼ inch circles.
- Layer fruit on a serving dish. Season with salt and 1 tablespoon of the chopped onion.
- Whisk together vinegar, honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle over salad.
From vitamin C-packed oranges to tangy lemons and limes, the citrus family offers a world of flavors waiting to be explored. Embrace their versatility in the kitchen with the mouthwatering recipes mentioned above, and remember that you’re not just adding a delightful taste, but also a boost of nutrition to your well-being. Happy citrus-infused cooking! xoM