Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Citrus Fruits
Citrus is one of the most prolific fruits for all manner of recipes. The sweet flesh, juice and zest bring a brightness to all sorts of dishes. Whether you're looking to use them in drinks, baked goods, salad dressings or grain dishes, here are some of our best tips for getting the most from your juicy fruits.
- Cut orange segments for eating by slicing "between the poles," not through them; then slice into easy-to-eat wedges.
- Add lemon and lime zest to rice and grain dishes, salad dressings, and salads.
- For the most pronounced citrus flavor in baked goods, use zest in the batter. Citrus juice becomes very muted in baked products. For even more fruity oomph, brush muffins, quick breads and cakes with a citrusy simple syrup (made from equal parts citrus juice and dissolved sugar) and/or make a simple citrus glaze with 1 cup powdered sugar and 3-4 tsp. citrus juice.
- To supreme citrus fruit, slice off the ends down to the flesh and place one of these flat ends on a stable cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut down toward the board (between the cut ends), moving the knife with the contour of the fruit to remove all of the peel and white pith, down to the brightly colored flesh. Hold the peeled fruit in one hand (membranes running across your open palm) over a large bowl; using a sharp knife in your other/cutting hand, carefully cut down into the fruit alongside the membranes to release the segments into the bowl below. Squeeze the remnants of the fruit (the membranes) over the bowl to extract every last drop of juice.
- To get the most juice from your citrus, squeeze them at room temperature or microwave them for up to 10 sec. first.
- When you want to use the juice and zest of a citrus fruit, zest first then squeeze the fruit to extract the juice.
- You can save a zested citrus fruit, but wrap it well in plastic and use as soon as possible. The juice in a zested lemon will oxidize and turn bitter quickly.
- Color isn't a good indicator of ripeness for citrus fruit. To select the best fruit, pick pieces that are heavy for their size. To do this, pick similarly sized fruits and choose the heavier of those you test. Fragrant fruits are also generally good choices. Avoid fruits with blemishes or soft spots.