Nature is an amazing thing that often provides for us in ways that we don’t ever stop to think about. Did you know that unlike most other fruits, citrus is in season during our winter? Think about that, the time of year that we often get sick with a cold or flu and nature hands us a delicious, vitamin C packed fruit to keep us healthy.
If you thought that oranges were just oranges, may I be the first to open your eyes to the ever-expanding varieties of citrus out there. Here on the Farm, we’ve been indulging in cara cara oranges, navel oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, mandarins, Kishu mandarins, Meyer lemons, kumquats, and red grapefruits. One of my favorite varieties that we bring in are the blood oranges, with a deep-maroon, nearly purple color that will peep through onto part of the peel. Originally found in southern Europe during the early 18th century, we now grow them in warmer parts of the United States like Texas and California. They are not as sweet as other orange options but they have a rich citrus flavor with a pinch of tart at the end. If for no other reason than the novelty of their lively color, I highly recommend trying one as soon as you get the chance.
Although kumquats are small (about the size of a large grape,) no one could ever describe them as small in flavor. They are often enjoyed with the peel on, an unexpectedly sweet contrast to the vibrant, tangy center waiting as soon as you bite in. For those who are fortunate enough to take a winter trip to somewhere warm like Florida will find these growing in abundance. Be sure to take after the locals and grab some off of a tree for a snack.
When I say that Kishu mandarins are little bright balls packed full of flavor that will have you nibbling every last nub they have to offer, I really mean it. Right now just so happens to be their season. They are only sold from orchards in Florida and California during a very brief window in February. Ironically, even though they are the genetic ancestor of most citrus fruit varieties that we know today, including grapefruit, they are not nearly as common as other citrus fruits! Kishu mandarins are a strong argument for not changing something that is already great; my deep-rooted love for blood oranges doesn’t quite compare to every perfect bite offered by a Kishu mandarin.
Should you be as inspired as I am to work these gifts of nature into your meals this season, please try a mint citrus salad. It’s extremely easy to make, pick up any selection of citrus you would like cut into different slices and chunks until you have about four cups. Gentle toss with a 1/4 cup of chopped mint. For the dressing, mix 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon. Drizzle this on top of the citrus mint mixture and you have a great appetizer or afternoon snack.
If a citrus mint salad is not what you are craving maybe try whipping up a fresh squeezed martini! Whichever way you choose to enjoy the fresh citrus found at the Farm be sure to share your recipes with us on Instagram and Facebook!
-written by Kyra Doyle, Inventory Manager