As the cold and rainy days of winter descend upon us, bright, bold citrus fruits come into season. They are at their best this time of year, offering sweet, tart, and juicy flavors. Best known for immune system support, citrus fruits are rich in a wide variety of phytonutrient compounds that, when paired with high vitamin C, become even more bioavailable. Because of these compounds we are advocates of eating an orange over taking a vitamin C supplement when you feel a cold coming on.
A serving of citrus provides more than 100% of the daily recommended value for vitamin C. Citrus has also been linked to a reduction in inflammation and a lowered risk of heart disease. You can count on citrus to provide a great source of fiber, folate and potassium as well as antioxidants and many other vitamins and minerals.
Our Favorite Varieties
Navel: Also known as sweet oranges, most navels are grown in California. They are seedless, relatively easy to peel, very sweet, and feature meaty flesh.
Satsuma: Part of the mandarin family, satsumas are one of the most cold-hardy fruits. Satsumas are prized for their honey-like sweetness, balanced with just enough acidity. They are very easily peeled.
Blood Orange: The distinctive dark flesh of the blood orange can be attributed to high levels of anthocyanin, a polyphenol pigment. They have a light sweetness, and a subtle berry-like flavor that is reminiscent of raspberries or cranberries mixed with citrus.
Cara Cara: Also known as red-fleshed navel oranges, cara caras are seedless, sweet, and low in acid. Their complex flavor evokes notes of cherry, rose petal, and blackberry. The pink flesh of the cara cara is juicy, and high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.
Minneola: Also known as a tangelo, the minneola is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit, and is characterized by its slight bell-shape, and a small bump where the stem attaches to the fruit. They are easy to peel, and super sweet with a tart finish.
Meyer Lemon: A cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo, meyer lemons feature a vibrant yellow rind, and a strong, almost herbal aroma. They are more sweet than tart, and are great for preserving in salt and adding to savory dishes.