It’s citrus season: Here’s how to incorporate the fruits in your meals this winter.

Now Is the Time to Use Winter Citrus. Here Are Our Favorite Recipes
Alex Farnum

Shorter days and longer nights mean it’s time to brighten up your meals with seasonal citrus. Right about now and through March, fruits like tangerines, grapefruits, blood oranges, and lemons are ripe for harvest in your garden—and at their most plump in grocery stores. A versatile ingredient, citrus can be incorporated throughout your weekly menus, from salads and desserts to garden-to-glass cocktails.

While citrus has a reputation for being tangy and sometimes sour, these flavor profiles make them a key ingredient that can be used to balance sweetness or add a kick to neutral flavors. Citrus grows particularly well in California due to the warm climate, so if you can source your citrus locally, do it! That will allow them to grow to full flavor potential instead of ripening in transport. If you grow your own, allow your fruit to plump up as much as possible.

Samantha Sheehan, founder and maker of the Mommenpop line of apéritifs that pair different types of citrus with grapes, credits the versatility of the fruits to their acidity. “If you want to have a bright and refreshing drink, you can add acid to heighten it. If you’re using deeper and richer tones in your foods, you can add citrus so it doesn’t taste as monotone.” Sheehan’s dye-free spritzes range from Seville oranges with a base of Chardonnay to grapefruit and cardamom with rosé. 

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In fact, citrus can act as a key ingredient in a wide variety of drinks. Joey Bernardo, creator of LiveWire’s Honeydew Collins and bartender at Broken Shaker in Los Angeles, describes the fruits as an “ubiquitous ingredient behind the bar.” In mixology, citrus is “the proverbial other side of the cocktail coin; stir spirit-only drinks, shake citrus drinks.”

While the most common citrus used in cocktails are lemons and limes, others like grapefruit, kumquat, and calamansi contribute unique flavors that complement spirits. Bernardo’s trick? “Grilling lemons and grapefruits before juicing can open up so many doors and add such a tasty, earthy char to drinks.”

Here are a few recipes Sunset recommends to add to your winter recipe lineup.

Salads

Main Courses

Desserts

Cocktails


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