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Many of us use citrus fruit year round but I think of citrus season when the new year begins. I certainly eat my share of Mandarin oranges over the holiday season but in January I look forward to cooking and eating all citrus fruits. Juicy navel oranges, beautiful blood oranges, ruby red grapefruits and Meyer lemons come to mind and the grocery stores continually add new varieties to the list.

Every January I go away on a ladies ski weekend and I volunteer to bring fruit for one or our breakfasts. I don’t even think about buying strawberries, I go straight for the citrus. I choose grapefruit and two or three different types of oranges. The colours make a gorgeous presentation, the taste is spectacular and everyone loves it. There’s nothing better than the freshest fruit at it’s peak.

Fresh grapefruit and orange supremes, citrus fruit is in season.
Citrus Supremes -photo credit Jim Little

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Everyday to Gourmet – Cutting Citrus Supremes

I cut oranges and grapefruits to remove all the membrane and pith. This may sound tedious, and it is, but it elevates ordinary cut up fruit to a whole new level. I’ve been doing this for years and only in recent years did I discover they’re called citrus supremes. Regardless of the name I think they’re worth the effort. Just give it a try!

How to Zest Citrus Fruit

The zest holds tons of flavour so to get the most out of your citrus fruit you should definitely use the zest. Adding orange zest to muffins, pancakes, cookies and scones provides a burst of citrus flavour. Adding lemon or lime zest to marinades, roast potatoes, fish dishes or chicken is heavenly. Try it in anything, you can’t go wrong.

I use both an old-fashioned zester with several holes at the top to make long strips of zest. I freeze it just like that in a small container and chop it up when I need it. If I’m just sprinkling some zest on top of pasta or a dessert I use a rast. Microplane is a brand name of this popular tool commonly seen on cooking shows.

Cutting Citrus Supremes

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase using these links your cost is the same, but I receive a few cents for every dollar spent. I appreciate your support for this website.

Get The Tools

These are the kind of tools that will last decades so buy what you like. I used a small hand zester to peel the zest off my oranges for years so I often grab it first. With the popularity of cooking shows the Microplane grater has become very popular. Microplane is actually a brand name but it is of good quality. These type of graters come in a variety of sizes and widths but you only need one to get started. I use a narrow one for grating citrus fruit and it works perfectly. You can also grate Parmesan cheese, ginger root (fresh or frozen), garlic, chocolate and almost anything you want to grate.

Freezing Citrus Zest

Whenever I’m eating or cooking with oranges, lemons or limes I like to zest them and save the zest in the freezer. It keeps frozen for months and is handy for baking or adding to any recipe. This is a good habit to get into.

I don’t always do this but I do freeze citrus zest often enough that I have colour coordinated containers. It just happened by accident. I have a small orange coloured container for my orange zest and a small yellow coloured container for my lemon zest. No green one yet but if I see one I will buy it. These little containers live in my freezer all year long whether they are full or empty. Sometimes the zest is in long strips just like it came off the fruit, sometimes it is all chopped up and ready to use.

What do you like to make with citrus zest? Let me know in the comments below.


The Recipes – Citrus Fruit and Zest

Click on the (hard to see) text on the bottom of each image to go to the recipe/blog post.

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