While temperatures may be dropping, winter citrus is just starting and we’re so excited to get a fresh burst to the season. There’s so much to know about all the varieties that will be popping up in stores shortly. Get ready for an exciting winter season!
- Buddha’s hand citron is an unusually shaped citrus with a wild finger-like appearance. It has an oily rind with a fragrant sweet lemon scent. The flesh is void of juice, pulp, and seeds and is inedible raw. Pith is mild-tasting and not bitter. Buddha’s Hand can be used whole, but is most commonly utilized for its zest. Buddha’s Hand can be used to flavor desserts, savory dishes, alcoholic beverages or candied. In China, Buddha’s hand fruit symbolizes happiness, longevity, and good fortune—making them a traditional temple offering and New Year’s gift!
- Kumquats are native to eastern Asia and are a group of small fruit-bearing trees in the flowering plant family They are a small, bite-sized oval citrus with sweet yet slightly bitter edible peels. The pulp is juicy with a mildly acidic and tart taste. The Meiwa kumquat is the sweetest variety.
- The Nagami kumquat is the most common variety found in the United States. It typically tastes more sour than other varieties. The tartness makes the Nagami perfect for jams and jellies! It is more oval in shape and tastes tart.
- The Minneola Tangelo is a hybrid of the Bowen grapefruit and the Dancy tangerine. They were first released in 1931 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Horticultural Research Station in Florida. They are round with a large, pronounced neck at the stem end which gives them a ‘bell-like’ appearance. The skin is red-orange, mostly smooth, and easy to peel. Inside, the orange flesh is sweet, tart and juicy with few to no seeds.
- The Orlando Tangelo is a cross of Duncan grapefruit and Dancy mandarin, making it a cousin of the Minneola Tangelo. Although it looks similar to an orange, its shape is more like a large plump tangerine. The skin varies in color from light to medium orange. Taste-wise, Orlando Tangelos are tender and mildly sweet. Like most tangelos, they are super juicy. Seed count varies from fruit to fruit, ranging anywhere from zero to 20! The number of seeds you find in an Orlando Tangelo depends on whether and how much the tree has been visited by bees carrying pollen from other kinds of citrus trees. For easy peeling, lightly score the peel in 4 “quarters” longitudinally first. Orlando Tangelos are available in jumbo and mammoth sizes.
- Navel oranges are named for their belly-button-like feature at the blossom end. The “navel” is actually an undeveloped second twin fruit opposite its stem! Their thick rind makes them easy to peel. Usually seedless, they are great to eat out of hand. Navels are not appropriate for juicing since the compound Limonin is found in the flesh and turns the juice bitter over time. Navels are thought to be one of the world’s best-tasting oranges for their sweet flavor.
Cara Cara Orange
- Cara Cara Navels may look like any regular navel orange on the outside, but inside, the flesh is a beautiful orangey pink-red color. This variety is a cross between the Washington Navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel. Discovered at the Hacienda La Cara Cara in Valencia, Venezuela in 1976, they are now largely grown in California. Compared to traditional navels, Cara Caras are sweeter, slightly tangy and less acidic, with a hint of berry flavor. They are also seedless.
- The blood orange gets its name from the blood-red color of its juice, which is rich and delicious with overtones of fresh berries. Anthocynanins, which give the orange its distinct maroon color, only develop when temperatures are low at night! No two oranges are alike; the skin and flesh ranges from orange to deep red. Bloods are easy to peel with few seeds and offer a satisfying tart and sweet flavor. They are great for eating on their own, juicing, salads, or even cocktails! Blood oranges generally begin fruiting in early January and continue through May, although Mother Nature can easily disrupt the season.
- The clementine is a cross between a mandarin and sweet orange that arose in the late 19th century in Algeria. It’s believed that the original clementine was an accidental mutation found in Brother Clement Rodier’s garden. Their peel is a deep orange color with a smooth, glossy appearance. Clementines are easy to peel are almost always seedless. They are juicy and sweet, with less acid than oranges.
- The Fairchild tangerine is a cross between a Clementine mandarin and an Orlando tangelo. It is one of the sweetest varieties of tangerines. The skin is thin, pebbly, deep orange, and can be a little more difficult to peel than other varieties. Once peeled, however, the flesh is firm but tender and deliciously juicy. Rich and sweet flavor. It is seeded, so watch out! The Fairchild ripens earlier in the season, which only adds to its popularity. The season can start in October and last through mid-January. The fruit is sometimes found with a stem and leaves attached, which is believed to be a symbol of prosperity and good luck in Chinese culture.
Gold Nugget Tangerine
- The Gold Nugget tangerine has a round shape, flattened at both ends, and a deeply pebbled skin. Its golden-orange skin is moderately easy to peel. It is a hybrid cross between the Wilking and Kincy mandarins, by the University of California at Riverside. It makes for a great juicer, as Golden Nuggets average a 50% juice content. It has a rich, sweet and full-bodied taste.
- Pixie tangerines are pale orange colored and are typically small in size. They ripen in the spring from the previous year’s bloom. Pixies are a late-season variety, ripening in March and April. They are always seedless with juicy flesh and pebbly skin that is easy to peel. They taste sweet and aromatic.
- Their thick, red-orange peel is rich in aromatic oils and is known as “zipper skin” as it peels away easily with just a few tears. The flesh is fragrant, sweet, juicy, and nearly void of seeds. Handle carefully, as their loosely attached skin bruises easily and affects its flesh and quality.
- The TDE tangerine is an unusual triple cross of a Temple Tangor, a Dancy mandarin, and an Encore mandarin. It features a large fruit size, deep orange rind color, very sweet rich flavor, and virtually no seeds. This is a late-maturing variety and holds well on the tree through March.
Ruby Red Grapefruit
- Ruby grapefruit has yellowish peel with areas of pink and green blush. Cut it open and you’ll find segments of deep pinkish-red flesh with sweet juicy flavor and some seeds. Ruby grapefruit contains anti-oxidant-rich Vitamins C and A, fiber, and lycopene—the antioxidant that gives the fruit its jewel-like ruby hue!
- The pomelo is also known as “shaddock” or Chinese grapefruit. The Chandler pomelo is a hybrid of Siamese Pink pomelo and Siamese Sweet pomelo. Chandlers are large and round with a yellow to yellow-pink rind. Their flesh is light to dark pink with a juicy texture. Chandlers taste mostly sweet with some acidic notes. It is less sour tasting than a grapefruit.
African Shaddock Pomelo
- The African Shaddock pomelo are botanically known as Citrus maxima. They have bright yellow peel with tiny speckles. The flesh is pale yellow or pink and sweet with aromatic floral notes. African Shaddocks are juicy and tastes sweet-tart with low acid.
- Meyer lemons are smaller in size with thinner rind than regular Eureka lemons. The rind is a deep brilliant yellow color. The pulp is low in acid, aromatic, floral and sweet. They are thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin or orange. Meyer lemons can be used for its fragrant zest, sweet juice, and segments or even candied whole. Try them in any preparation common lemons are used!
- Makrut limes are native to subtropical Southeast Asia and southern China. They are small in size and oval in shape with a slightly protruding stem end. The thick rind is covered in small bumps. The flesh is semi-dry, and pale green with a few seeds. Taste-wise, they are acidic, bitter and very sour with an aromatic floral fragrance. Makrut limes are most commonly used for their aromatic rind and zest as a base ingredient in tangy curries and savory dishes in Southeast Asian cuisine