In Season: Citrus

Lindsay MartianThe best way to save money on produce, get the most nutrition and enjoy a burst of flavor with every bite is to buy fruits and vegetables seasonally.  Therefore, I am introducing a blogging series called “In Season”.  Every month I will fill you in on a produce item that is in season here in the Midwest as well as easy recipe ideas.

My first “In Season” post is all about citrus.  The silver lining to a dreary January and February is the juicy oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, clementines and hybrids of those citrus fruits we get to enjoy.  These sweet gems pack tons of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance to infection (no winter colds for me!).  In fact, one orange provides approximately 90% of your needs for the day.  In other words, an orange a day keeps the winter colds away.  Citrus fruits are also a good source of Vitamin A which is beneficial for skin and essential for vision.

Of course you can simply peel and enjoy.  But let’s spice things up a bit!  Here are other ideas for utilizing your citrus fruits.

Candy the Peel

Instead of just tossing the peel after you’ve enjoyed the middle segments, use it to make candied orange or lemon peel!  The peel contains the fruit’s essential oils, which is what provides the potent citrus scent and flavor.  It is also low in sugar and calories yet still a source of Vitamin C.  Here’s how you candy your peel.

Don’t Forget the Zest

As I mentioned, the zest of the fruit is a great source of Vitamin C as well as flavor.  So if you have a recipe that calls for citrus juice, make sure to add in the zest (very top layer of the peel) for an extra kick of flavor.  You can also simply add zest to some of your favorite foods:

  • Lemon zest on oatmeal with blueberries
  • Orange zest on fresh baked tilapia
  • Lemon zest on roasted chicken breast
  • Orange zest to cranberry muffins
  • Lime zest on grilled shrimp for shrimp tacos
  • Grapefruit zest in your Greek yogurt with granola

Make a Simple Sweet Treat

Everyone loves those little clementine Cuties.  They are so fun to eat and a great portable snack.  But add just two more ingredients and you have a sweet treat that can satisfy any chocolate craving.

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Chocolate-Dipped Clementines

Start the Day with a Detoxifying Drink

A great way to start the day is with a big glass of water.  After a night without fluids, your body is craving hydration.  Take it up a notch with lemon.  Either slice fresh lemon slices in cold water or hot water.  It can add Vitamin C to your morning and help balance your body’s pH levels.  If you are a heavy coffee drinker, you may also find hot lemon water can help you kick your habit.

Enjoy citrus while it is in season!

– Lindsay

Be sure to check out Lindsay’s New Year, New You: Nutrition Boot Camp to learn more about how to revamp your eating for 2014!