Yay, peak citrus season is finally here! This time of the year brings a surplus of delicious Sunkist citrus including many unique varieties like Meyer lemons, Cara Cara oranges, Pummelos, blood oranges, Minneola tangelos, and many others. Using in-season, fresh citrus can liven up winter menus and is an easy way to add some zest to traditional comfort foods.
Consumers today demand transparent and healthy choices, and fresh citrus can be used as a key ingredient to brighten up dishes across the menu, from cocktails to entrees. Our Napa Valley-based, James Beard Award-winning chef, Cindy Pawlcyn currently uses citrus to do just that. Here are some of the ways Cindy incorporates peak season citrus at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Mustard’s Grill:
Chefs are currently gravitating towards using the “whole fruit” in their dishes. One of the ways is by incorporating candied citrus peels, which you can make by dehydrating and sugaring the peel of an in-season citrus variety. You can then use the peel to garnish a cocktail or brighten up a dessert. Cindy uses one as décor for an almond cake with lemons during the winter, as a way to add some zest/color!
Cindy does a lot of roasted vegetables during this time of year in her restaurants. She squeezes citrus juice over the vegetables and then tosses in entire segments of lemons or oranges and bakes in the oven. The oils from the peel and the moisture from the citrus make them come out nice and caramelized.
Make a citrus salt, with lemon, orange or grapefruit. Dehydrate the peel, then grind to a fine powder. Add 2 tbsp. to 1.5 tbsp. of salt. Sprinkle over anything. Season fish, warm nuts or popcorn. It is wonderful this time of year!
Sunkist offers more than 40 varieties of premium quality, fresh citrus including oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, mandarins, tangerines, tangelos and organics. All Sunkist® citrus is carefully handpicked on our growers’ family farms in California and Arizona. Celebrate this festive time of year by enjoying the many juicy, flavorful citrus varieties in season now!