Many of us take for granted that we find oranges, lemons and even grapefruit in the shops pretty much all year round, but the fact is, that it is only now – during winter – when citrus fruit is actually in season. My theory, is that its mother nature’s way of looking after us…we need all that vitamin C from citrus to help fight off those winter flues after all, right?!?!
But honestly, citrus fruit is often seen as a side note and not often makes it onto menus as the star of the show. You know, a squeeze of lemon here and there, a slice of orange as a garnish etc, very rarely is it the main attraction. Well, the time is now to give citrus the sensational title it rightly deserves.
My attitude towards cooking is always to endeavour to use produce within its relevant season. Not only does it then taste amazing because it is at its optimum ripeness, but it is also kind on your wallet because it is available in such abundance.
The versatility of citrus fruit is what makes it so endearing to me, you’ll find it used across the board in a number of cuisines, from French food to Thai food. And what’s even greater is that it is neither savoury nor sweet, the options for recipe ideas are endless.
With the winter bounty of citrus fruits currently available – everything ranging from lemons to oranges to grapefruit to limes to kumquats to pomelo and Minneola’s…just to name a few, we are spoilt for choice. I do have a personal favourite though… naartjies! (Or Satsumas as they are known to people outside of South Africa).
I adore a sweet, succulent naartjie any time of the day; I love to add a generous squeeze of naartjie juice to my bircher muesli to give it a freshness in the morning. Or what about trading in your morning orange juice for naartjie juice? Forget about putting slices of lemon in your ice tea, I go for naartjies….they add a natural sweetness and a mild acidity. I also love making naartjie marmalade, it’s less bitter than the orange variety that we are all used to. But my show-stopper recipe when it comes to naartjies…my upside down naartjie cake – YUM!