A Kitchen Inspired by Winter Citrus
A few mornings ago I woke from a dream with the touch of sunshine lingering on my cheeks and the scent of flowers and warm air surrounding me. I guess I didn’t realize how much I’ve been missing warmer weather complete with picnics, cocktails on the patio, bike rides and, most of all, sunshine. Amidst all the grey that is winter time, it’s easy to forget that color is all around. It is though, and winter citrus is a glorious reminder.
We like to celebrate this time of year with our citrus growers who bring the bright taste of sunshine to the holidays and beyond! While you may think that citrus season is in the summer when other juicy fruits are in season, peak citrus season is actually in the cooler months. Starting in late November and lasting through winter is the best time to start tasting different kinds of citrus to find your favorites and learn what might be best suited to your favorite recipes.
Choose citrus fruits that feel firm and heavy for their size and avoid fruit that is misshapen or obviously damaged. So many varieties of citrus are available this time of year, the best thing to do is grab something new and taste, taste, taste! You may be familiar with oranges, lemons and limes, but the world of citrus is much larger and includes other fruits such as:
- Satsumas – easy to peel, tangy and sweet, seedless
- Blood Oranges – juicy and sweet with raspberry overtones and bright red flesh
- Tangerines – intense flavor, sometimes sweet, sometimes tart
- Clementines – exceptionally sweet, juicy pulp, virtually seedless
- Tangelos – refreshingly tart, very juicy
- Navels – seedless, exceptionally sweet, easy to peel
Your favorite citrus is versatile and can be used in salads, cocktails, baked goods and in sauces or vinaigrettes. Personally, I’d suggest you try your hand as a bartender and shake up this Clementine Cocktail or work it into a breakfast beverage like a Sunny Citrus Smoothie.
CLEMENTINE CRUSH SPARKLING COCKTAIL
2 2/3 cups clementine juice, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped clementine zest, plus 1 clementine for garnish (from 12-14 fruits total)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 cup organic 100% cranberry juice
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
8 (1-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling wine, such as Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut, well chilled
1 (12-ounce) can tonic water or ginger ale
In a wide, shallow dish, mix zest and sugar together with your fingers. Wet the rim of 8 cocktail glasses with a wet paper towel, and then dredge in clementine sugar to coat. In a large pitcher, use a wooden spoon to muddle cranberry juice, cranberries and rosemary sprigs thoroughly. Fill pitcher with ice cubes. Top off with clementine juice, wine and tonic water or ginger ale. Stir vigorously; pour into glasses; garnish with clementine twists and serve.
SUNNY CITRUS SMOOTHIE
1 red grapefruit
3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
1/2 cup ice cubes
Remove zest from orange and lemon; set aside. Cut a slice off from the top and bottom of the orange, lemon and grapefruit. One at a time, place them on a cutting board and remove all the peel and white pith with a knife, exposing the flesh. Chop the fruits and remove any seeds. Place the fruits into a blender and add half the orange and lemon zest and the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and pour into 2 glasses; sprinkle with the remaining zest.
In addition to snacking on and incorporating citrus into recipes, my family likes to give baskets of citrus as gifts when we’re visiting friends and family. Citrus makes for pretty and easy table décor too — just arrange into bowls or into tall glass vases for a more dramatic presentation. Best of all, you can eat them for dessert!
What will you do with this bounty of peak-season citrus this season? Send us an email.
With “A Kitchen Inspired” we will share with you the current and up and coming ingredients, products and cooking methods that inspire our team members, chefs and the kitchen at Whole Foods Market Dublin.
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company’s motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement.