4 Ways to Embrace Winter Citrus

January 13, 2015

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:

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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.

How do you like your winter citrus? In lemon sticky buns? In marmalade, spread on a biscuit? Tell us in the comments! 

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Liz Lehfeldt
    Liz Lehfeldt
  • Pegeen
  • theresa manzanares
    theresa manzanares
  • Carolyn Selheim-Miller
    Carolyn Selheim-Miller
  • Stacy
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


Liz L. January 14, 2015
does anyone have a good source for mail-order grapefruits?
Posie (. January 14, 2015
Hi Liz, these old hotline question has a few suggestions!
Liz L. January 14, 2015
excellent! thank you.
Pegeen January 14, 2015
Ordered Honeybell oranges (seedless) from White Flower Farm in Connecticut. They arrived last week and vanished within a few days. Delicious and perfect on their own. Also used them to make a vinaigrette with champagne vinegar, for an arugula salad. A breath of springtime in January.
Pegeen January 14, 2015
(Seedless cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit)
theresa M. January 14, 2015
we made some marmalade (satsuma and blood orange, pomelo) that didn't quite gel, so i mixed it with soy sauce and tobasco and used it as a glaze for baked chicken thighs. it was excellent.
Carolyn S. January 13, 2015
I just made some awesome blood orange curd tarts! I'm going to be making another batch of the curd to have on toast,'s so good! See it at :)
Stacy January 13, 2015
Make citrus curd! :) See recipe in my profile for an easy peasy 5-ingredient lemon curd recipe!
HalfPint January 13, 2015
There's a nice citrus risotto recipe in the Zuni Cafe cookbook that uses grapefruit. Here's an adaptation,
Posie (. January 13, 2015
Sounds so interesting! Definitely going to try that.