January has 31 days, but it’s dreary enough that it feels like 81. We find ourselves eating soup daily, and it seems likely that we might never feel sun on our skin again. Ever. To combat the season's austere talk of resolutions and the many weeks until spring vacation, brighten up your meals (and your home) with citrus.
Citrus is the sunniest part of winter, and all of it -- from grapefruit to blood oranges -- is worth at least as much excitement as summer’s peaches and plums. Here are four of our favorite ways to embrace it:
1. Eat it plain. Very good citrus needs no embellishment, but be certain you’re buying the best. We source our blood oranges and Meyer lemons from Frog Hollow Farms in California. Grown organically, they’re some of the sweetest (and prettiest) citrus we’ve tasted.
More: Are you a purist? Juice that citrus.
2. Cook with it. The tang, sweetness, and acid of citrus improves so many other flavors, but we’ve decided on ideal menu. Start with a fennel and blood orange salad, follow it with grilled scallops with grapefruit and chile, and finish it up with Meyer lemon eclairs and a Meyer lemon custard. If there’s fruit involved, you’re allowed to have two desserts.
More: Drink in grapefruit’s finest hour: the mid-winter margarita.
3. Scent your house with it. Smelling sweet, tangy citrus must be the next best thing to tasting it. One of our shop merchants, Circle Creek Home, created a custom citrus-scented kitchen soap for Food52, and it’s made even washing dishes a pleasure. Or make your own room spray: In a small spray bottle, mix 2 ounces of distilled water with 5 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake it up and spritz everywhere.
4. Cover your walls with it. While nothing is as cheerful as a countertop heaped with lemons and oranges, think outside of the bowl when decorating with citrus. Two brilliant decorations are this citrus wreath (bonus: it smells lovely) and a hanging basket for fruit.
Photos by James Ransom