So join us January 11-24 for Citrus Fest, when our experts show you how to put a little pow in your chow. We’ll teach you the differences between variegated pink and Meyer lemons and introduce you to kishu and satsuma mandarins. Don’t know what to do with fragrant Buddha’s hand? No worries. We can teach you that too.
From the pith to the peel, citrus fruits – grapefruits, oranges, limes, lemons and beyond – offer powerful flavor and boast some pretty amazing health and mood benefits. Folate, free radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and more pack a healthy punch in every bite or sip, and these can improve skin’s elasticity, heart health, even the ability of the body to absorb calcium for healthy bones. Just the scent of citrus can boost energy and lift your mood.
In addition to a mind-blowing array of citrus fruits, we have fresh-squeezed juices at our newly revamped juice bar, sweet and savory recipes featuring citrus, brand-new products in every department (scratch-made limoncello pound cake, marinated chicken breasts in signature flavors like orange honey habanero and ginger orange cookies from Wackym’s Kitchen, to name a few), and special citrus classes in our cooking schools.
Another great idea: try a little grapefruit sorbetto in your champagne or prosecco for an appetizing aperitif. You can buy grapefruit sorbetto at our Gelato Bar. Or try herbal-infused sorbets from local company Savoy, in flavors like orange chamomile or lemon thyme, available in Frozen. For even more great ideas for incorporating citrus into your cooking, check out this recent blog post by Bon Appetit.
Here’s a little citrus primer:
This is the most flavorful navel orange in the house. This grower only uses “old line” Washington navel trees combined with sour and sweet orange rootstock. It’s picked only when it is ready and packed fresh.
Cara Cara Oranges
Discovered in the mid-’70s at La Hacienda de Cara Cara in Venezuela, the Cara Cara has a sweet taste with a spicy tang reminiscent of raspberries and strawberries.
Moro Blood Oranges
Originally from Sicily and common throughout Italy, moro blood oranges are known for their complex raspberry flavor. Moros are generally deep red, almost black inside. This is a great orange for garnish, saucework or fresh eating.
Meyer lemons are favored for their thin, edible rinds and very juicy interior. The flavor is slightly sweeter than traditional lemons without the harsh acidic bite. Recently, Meyers have become very popular with chefs and foodies!
One of the best flavored early-season mandarins. Pages are slightly more difficult to peel than other varieties due to their tight-fitting skin. Score the bottom of the fruit to make peeling a breeze.
Originally from Satsuma, Japan, these mandarins are the first seedless mandarin of the year. You may have seen them beginning in November. Easy to peel, satsumas are perfect for lunchboxes and snacking. Just pop the little mandarins in the mouth!
This mandarin orange is native to China but has been popular in Europe and Africa for more than a century. It’s known throughout the world for its fine, distinctive flavor reminiscent of apricot nectar.
Kishu Mandarins (a Central Market exclusive)
Kishus are small in size but big in flavor. They are grown by a small farmer in the Ojai Valley, considered by many to be the most ideal location in the world for growing citrus.
Australian Finger Limes
Known as the “caviar lime,” its juice vesicles have a surprisingly similar texture and appearance to caviar. Its flavor is tart, slightly sweet and more limey than limes. To eat, slice the lime in half widthwise and squeeze each end. The pulp will slide out of the skin. Finger limes are fantastic for seafood, salads and sauces.
Buddha’s Hand Citron
This ancient variety of citrus has been a popular spiritual offering and gift in Asian cultures for centuries, although its culinary uses are limited. It has virtually no pulp or juice, so it’s often sliced and candied. However, Buddha’s hand is valued for its aromatic rind, used for perfuming rooms. (It’ll last up to two weeks at room temp, leaving a familiar, mild lemon scent.) Plus it’s ornamental, making it a beautiful fruit to incorporate into floral designs.
These bumpy, big-as-a-grapefruit, bright yellow citrus fruits are a lemon-citron hybrid. They have the same flavor and acidity as a true lemon, so you can use it as a substitute for lemon in all your favorite recipes. And because the Ponderosa lemon is so big, you can squeeze more juice out of it.
Bergamot is actually an orange that has a tart flavor similar to lemon candy, and it’s used to flavor Earl Grey tea. Bergamot works well as a lemon substitute for tart desserts, or use it to make a glaze for a bundt cake. (Simmer ¼ cup bergamot juice with ¾ cups sugar in a saucepan until slightly reduced. Then cool.) The zest gives fish a tangy zing, and the juice would make a delicious vinaigrette for crab, avocado and frisee salad.
Also look for these citrus varieties:
- Seville sour oranges
- Etrog citrons
- Sweet limes
- Neapolitan mandarins (a Central Market exclusive!)
- Cocktail grapefruit
- Oro blanco grapefruit