If you’ve looked at a calendar, a thermometer, or a pile of ice and snow lately, it’s time to turn that frown upside down. We may be months away from ripe peaches and strawberries, but winter isn’t devoid of delicious fresh fruits. We are in the middle of citrus season — and that’s a reason to celebrate.
Citrus fruits spend all summer growing but don’t ripen until the temperatures start dropping. It takes cold weather to develop the sugars that makes your oranges sweet and your lemons palatable (fun farmer fact: this is the case with a lot of produce; carrots get much sweeter after a frost). This means that by the time January rolls around and we start falling prey to the winter doldrums and flu viruses, our favorite citrus fruits are there to pick us back up with an orange wedge smile and a shot of Vitamin C.
This year is one to be extra grateful about the citrus in your fruit bowl. With prolonged cold snaps and that pesky polar vortex, citrus farmers are winding up with a lot of fruit they can’t sell. When the juice in the fruit freezes, it forms sharp crystals. These crystals puncture the juice sacs (pulp), and when the fruit thaws, all the juice drains out and you’re left with a dry orange. Nothing is sadder than a dry orange in January, so farmers, who can’t sell consumers juice-less citrus, take a major financial hit. What can you do? Buy the citrus that does make it to the market and then use it to make these recipes. It’s a win-win. Tip: watch this video from Plated to learn how to cut slices of citrus.