By Vanessa Greaves
January 25, 2017
Citrus Season
Make the most of citrus season | Photo by Meredith

We all tend to associate bright and zesty citrus fruit with summertime heat (looking at you, lemonade). So, you might be surprised to discover that wintertime is actually the peak season for much of the citrus grown right here in the United States. Here are five of the most desirable fruits you should snap up while citrus season is here, plus recipe ideas to showcase their flavors. Winter's looking brighter already.

5 Citrus Fruits to Brighten Up Your Wintertime

1. Meyer Lemons

Once upon a time, a lemon fell in love with an orange, and together they produced a happy hybrid called a Meyer lemon. They're smaller, rounder, and have smoother, darker skins than your everyday lemons. Because they're also sweeter and less acidic, you might want to cut back the sugar a bit when you substitute Meyer lemons for regular lemons. And don't discard the rind; if you're not planning to use the intensely flavorful zest in a recipe right away, grate it off and freeze it for up to 6 months.

Meyer Lemon Pie
Meyer Lemon Pie | Photo by Meredith

You can also substitute Meyer lemon in any of these lemon recipes.

2. Blood Oranges

Named for the deep red color of its flesh and juice, a blood orange is lower in acid than its conventional cousins. It's also a bit sweeter, with hints of raspberry flavor. Its dark red color also makes it higher in antioxidants, but that's secondary to the visual drama it add to everything it touches. Use blood oranges in any recipe where you'd use ordinary oranges, and be prepared for major oohs and aahs.

Blood Orange Yogurt Olive Oil Cake
Blood Orange Yogurt Olive Oil Cake | Photo by Meredith

You can substitute blood oranges to add drama to any of these orange recipes.

3. Kumquats

Shrink an orange down to the size of your thumb, then shape it into an oval, and you've got a kumquat. Although you can eat them whole, skin and all, they can be quite tart. In fact, some folks swear by snipping off a tip, squeezing out the sour juice and seeds, then eating the sweet skin and flesh. Their petite shape makes them awfully cute cut in half or in wedges and used to garnish everything from drinks to desserts.

Chef John's Kumquat Marmalade
Chef John's Kumquat Marmalade | Photo by Chef John

4. Tangerines

Tangerines (aka mandarins) come in many varieties: clementines, satsumas, and pixies, to name a few. They resemble fist-size oranges, but their loose skins make them so much easier to peel. Sweet, juicy, and ideal for grab-and-go snacking, they're also very pretty divided into segments and tossed into salads.

Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream | Photo by thedailygourmet

5. Grapefruit

These giants of the citrus world are named for the way they grow in enormous grape-like clusters on trees. Ranging in color from pale yellow to blush-red, their juicy flesh can be eaten raw or cooked. Most grapefruit generally lean more towards tart than sweet, but a touch of sugar helps to correct the balance if tart's not to your taste. Ruby red grapefruit, however, are sweet enough to eat without extra sugar.

Three Amigos Salad
Three Amigos Salad | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

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