Bright, fragrant, and zesty citrus fruits are associated with warm weather, but peak citrus fruit season in the United States is during the winter. Even though oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit are typically available year round, the freshest and most diverse citrus varieties only show up from late November to early March. Winter is just brighter with citrus!
What Are Citrus Fruits?
Native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Southeast Asia, citrus fruits grow on flowering trees or shrubs. They have leathery skin with white piths and are presently cultivated in tropical or subtropical climates around the world. Roughly one-third of all citrus fruits are used to make juices, the most popular varieties being orange juice, lemon juice, lime, juice, and grapefruit juice.
The Benefits Of Citrus Fruits
Great Fiber Sources
According to nutritional guidelines, you should consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you eat. Roughly 4% of men and 13% of women in the United States actually reach that amount. One cup of orange segments contains about 4 grams of soluble fiber, which works to lower cholesterol levels. Citrus fruits are unique in that they have a higher amount of soluble fiber than insoluble fiber.
Beneficial For Skin
Citrus fruits, as you may already know, are near the top of the vitamin C fruit list. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen regeneration, which helps maintain skin elasticity. Regularly consuming vitamin C-rich citrus fruits can also prevent UV-induced photodamage and pigmentation. While it may be out of the ordinary, you can use orange peels to help exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and clean out clogged pores. This helps contribute to clearer glowing skin.
They May Fight Cancer
Many studies have linked the consumption of citrus fruits with reduced risk of certain cancers. A Harvard study found that the flavonoids, folate, vitamin C, and carotenoids in citrus fruits significantly reduced the risk of esophageal cancer. Another study found that people who ate one grapefruit a day had a reduced risk of lung cancer. The flavonoids act as antioxidants, which help block the expression of genes that may cause degenerative diseases.
Let These Citrus Varieties Brighten Your Day
Blood oranges don’t contain as much citric acid as other citrus varieties, which is why they are typically sweeter. Next time you consume a blood orange, see if you can detect the subtle raspberry-like flavor. The rich red means that blood oranges contain antioxidants that regular oranges do not have, and diversifying antioxidant intake is one of the best ways to keep the body healthy.
Cara Cara Oranges
If you haven’t noticed, wintertime menus seem to feature the mighty cara cara orange, which has a pink flesh that is noticeably sweeter than Navel or Valencia oranges. We recently published a cleanse approved salad recipe that contains cara cara oranges, and you can view that by clicking here.
If ever there was a lemon made for making lemonade, it would be the lovely Meyer lemon. They are smaller than typical lemons and have a darker yellow color. Juice Meyer lemons to make lemonade, desserts, or salad dressings. And don’t you dare think about discarding the rind because the zest helps to elevate your dishes to the next level. You can even zest it into sea salt to create lemon salt.
Kumquats are members of the citrus family, but they don’t seem to get a lot of love, despite the fact that you can eat the entire fruit, skin and all. They can have a sharp and sour bite, but they are typically balanced with some inherent sweetness. You can snack on them, or thinly slice them to add to your salads.
Grapefruits are not always appreciated, the primary reason being that their flesh can be quite tart. Have you tried the ruby red grapefruit? It is the sweetest grapefruit and it can be juiced, eaten out of hand, or segmented and added to salads.
These may be some of the juiciest and sweetest snacks of winter. Choose from clementines, Satsuma tangerines, pixies, Mineola tangerines, and more for grab-and-go snacking. You can also juice them to mix in with your orange juice because they offer a subtly tart flavor that enhances the natural sweetness of orange juice.