Citrus season is a gift from Mother Nature. Even when beloved favorites like berries and peaches are still months away, the citrus world is still sparkling with plenty of gems to brighten up your kitchen. The zesty flavors of citrus never fail to brighten a dish or a mood. We hope this handy cheat sheet helps you make the most of citrus season this year and every year.
Sweet and relatively seedless, navel oranges are one of the most common citrus varieties out there. Great eaten plain, they’re highly versatile and can be used in most citrus recipes where you’re not after a ton of acidity. For a simple but impressive dessert, combine them with grapefruit to make a citrus tart in this Grapefruit Orange Crostata.
Most frequently used for juicing because they’re a bit more difficult to peel, these sweet oranges are also perfectly good for snacking if sliced. They’re also a popular choice for marmalade, like this Valencia Orange Marmalade.
Best known for their stunning ruby flesh, blood oranges are a sweet and deeply flavored variety that punch above their weight when used as an aesthetic show-stopper in a dish or cocktail. They’re at their best when used in large pieces where their color can shine. They also add drama to a savory dish, like this Charred Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges or in a memorable side dish like Shaved Carrots with Charred Dates.
A gorgeous navel orange featuring a beautiful interior, extra sweet flavor, and few seeds, Cara Caras are a real treat whenever they’re around. Take advantage of their flavor profile when you want a refreshing burst of citrus flavor without too much acidity. Savor how wonderful they look and taste by combining them with blood oranges in this Cara Cara and Blood Orange Salad with Ricotta Salata.
Small and sweet, with some seeds, they make perfect snacks (be sure to save their peels to make an aromatic kitchen cleaner!) , and also great served whole as a festive dessert in this Candied Mandarin Oranges with Cranberries recipe.
Ruby Red Grapefruits
Heralded by some as the sweetest grapefruit variety, their brightly toned flesh is often less red than pink. Grapefruits are highly versatile in a variety of dishes due to their distinctive bittersweet and tart flavor. Their juice is excellent in cocktails, and their unique bittersweet quality plays equally well in sweet and savory flavor combinations. Their color plays well with jewel-toned beets in this Roasted Beets with Grapefruit and Rosemary recipe.