When Life Gives You Lemons, Eat ’em
Let’s make something delicious.
Hey, it’s hot and beautiful out. Let’s channel that. Let’s find our inner-sunshine and eat something bright. Bring on the citrus!
What is it?
You know those acidic tree fruits: lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit? Those are all citrus fruits. Recent research tells us that they’re originally from Australia, though they were first domesticated in Southeast Asia. Could I tell you how many types of citrus fruit there are? Absolutely not: there are tons of different species and hybrids available around the world. In fact, citrus fruits are the most widely cultivated fruit crops in the world. Citrus fruits are grown on small trees—usually only ranging from 5-15 meters tall—and grow from a special berry that the tree produces.
Why are they so special?
Citrus is very easily hybridized… huh hybridized? Think ‘Ligers’. The fruit grown from citrus trees is relatively simple to graft, pollinate, and adapt in order to suit the climate and growing conditions. This means that when we grow citrus, we can essentially ensure the success and hardiness of the trees and its fruit.
What’s in it for me?
Here we go, the ins-and-outs of the health benefits of citrus… Ready, set, go! Vitamin C, which is especially high in citrus fruits like oranges, can help prevent scurvy. Moreover, it is a potent antioxidant, which aids in maintaining health and warding off illness.
- Citrus fruits are natural antihistamines.
- Citrus is a high source of dietary fibre—non-starch polysaccharides—which is a complex carb.
- Citrus contains folate, which is a vitamin that is essential for the production and growth of cells.
- Eating citrus helps maintain the body’s water versus acid balance due to the level of potassium they contain.
- Citrus contains phyto-chemicals, which has been linked to helping protect against numerous chromic diseases including heart disease.
- The high Vitamin C levels in citrus fruit help increase the absorption of non-haem iron, which decreases the likelihood of anemia.
- Nobiletin, a flavonoid in tangerines, can help prevent obesity and protect from Type 2 Diabetes.
What do I do with it?
More often that not, citrus fruit is eaten fresh. Typically, with the exception of grapefruit, the fruit is peeled and the segments are eaten. In the case of grapefruit, the fruit is left unpeeled, and is instead cut around the circumference and the flesh scooped out. Some of the most common juices—orange, grapefruit, lemonade, margaritas—are all made from the juicing of the fruit. The pulp is often used for condiments like marmalade. Citrus fruit is exceptionally versatile in its culinary uses—I’ll set you up with some delish recipes a little further down—because each part of the fruit can be used in different ways:
- Zest- the outermost layer of the peel
- Oil- extracted liquid with intense aromatic compounds
- Segments- which contain the flesh of the fruit
- Pulp- juicy vesicles within each segment
I know, I know, a lot of this you’re just thinking “Duh, Sam. I like orange juice. Why are you yammering about citrus?“ But let me tell you, any of these recipes bring your use of citrus to an entirely different level:
- Citrus Carpaccio with Champagne Sabayon
- Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
- Citrus Almond Olive Oil Upside Down Cake
- Blood Orange and Honey Gummies
- Citrus Thyme Tart
- Lime Creamsicles
- Rosemary Shortbread with Red Grapefruit Buttercream
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