Food52 Life

Fruit of the Week: Citrus

March 21, 2012

We're so very close to asparagus season here in the Northeast -- the weather has turned, spring is in the air, and soon we'll be seein a lot more green at the market. But while winter is still in our minds, we dedicate our fruit of the week to the mighty citrus. Here's a paean to our favorite winter pick-me-up, as photographed by our very own citrus-addicted Kristy Mucci.

Navel oranges are a snacktime standby, but today we're focusing on its lesser-known cousins like these darling clementines:

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And of course the incredible edible lemon (Juice it into a vinaigrette! Stir its zest into pancakes! Fry whole slices of it for an accompaniment to asparagus!):

And we can't forget Meyer lemons. Their sweetly acidic flavor (they're thought to be a cross between lemons and tangerines) makes them perfect for recipes calling for citrus rind -- like preserved lemons:

Have you ever had Cara Cara oranges? We love their brilliant orange insides. And a few weeks ago at Eataly, we found a gorgeous new hybrid: mandarinquats. (They didn't last long in the office.)


Kumquats, which you can pop in your mouth like grapes, are perfect for snacking -- though we've also been known to simmer them into a compote to serve with ricotta-filled crepes:

What's your favorite citrus variety? (Are you lucky enough to have a lemon tree in your backyard?)

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Greenstuff
  • Panfusine
  • EmilyC
  • Meatballs&Milkshakes
  • aargersi
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Greenstuff March 22, 2012
My favorite snacking citrus is the teeny tiny Kishu mandarin. I have one of them, a Eureka lemon, and a blood orange in pots on my deck. My next door neighbor has three Meyer lemons and an un-named orange that makes great marmalade. So we're in good shape here, even in years when the squirrels discover a passion for citrus.

Sweet that you're dreaming of asparagus--the local crop is in here, and I'm eating it twice a day, sometimes three times!
Panfusine March 21, 2012
Totally reveled in citrus to my hearts content. batches galore of marmalade: 5 citrus marmalade (the largest amount by volume of any CP testing I've done), Meyer lemon & ginger marmalade with cardamom, Kumquat marmalade with birds eye chili, ...preserved Meyer lemons, Key lime & Meyer lemon pickles, Indian style
EmilyC March 21, 2012
I came to the realization a few weeks ago that I almost always have a bag of lemons in my fridge. That, and heavy cream. It feels good to be prepared!
Meatballs&Milkshakes March 21, 2012
I WISH I had a lemon tree, but I'm afraid I probably don't get enough sunlight for it. I love citrus though, and my quick weeknight dinners usually involve it when I don't know what to make.
aargersi March 21, 2012
LOVE that citrus! We have 2 Meyer lemons, a mandarin and a blood orange - all in pots. Lemons and blood oranges are set right now, mandarin hasn't bloomed yet. They make great shade to sneak a chaise lounge under too!!!
Nozlee S. March 21, 2012
I'm jealous, aargersi! That sounds so amazing.