The Yummy Guide to Citrus Fruits
Add bright flavors to your meals and dishes with these fruits.
Open your eyes to a world of citrus options—you can use them in your dishes, too!
They’re the best oranges to eat as is! They’re seedless, and easily peeled and segmented, but less juicy than other types. They’re easy to spot because of the small button formation at the base. Valencia oranges, which are ideal for juicing, look like navel oranges but don’t have the button formation.
How to use it: Eat them as is, or use them in anything from salads and mains to glazes and desserts. You can also make candied rind from the peel and dip it in dark chocolate.
Be careful—a grapefruit looks like an orange! It has sweet-tart meat (sweeter than a lemon, but tarter than an orange and a pomelo) with a slightly bitter finish. Its pulp is pinkish-red, thanks to lycopene, an antioxidant also found in tomatoes.
How to use it: Toss the segments in salads; make vinaigrette, drinks, and icy sorbets; or eat them as is.
Native to Southeast Asia, the pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The skin is pale green to light yellow in color and has a thick, white pith underneath. The salmon-pink flesh is more sour than an orange, with a slightly bitter aftertaste (although less bitter than a grapefruit).
How to use it: Add the segments to salads, or make shakes and drinks with the juice. They’re also great as is with salt and vinegar for dipping. You can also make candied rind with the peel.
ALSO READ: Peel A Pomelo The Easy Way!
Bright yellow and oval in shape, lemons are used to add a tangy flavor in cooking and baking. Choose those which are heavy for their size and with thin skin; it should give slightly when pressed. Stay away from wrinkled and dull-colored ones.
How to use it: Make lemonade! Whip up desserts like lemon meringue pie and sorbet. Use the pulp and zest to make marmalade and curd. Use lemon slices as a garnish; you can squeeze them over seafood and rich dishes for an added layer of bright flavor.
A bit smaller than lemons, but 50 percent more acidic, green limes thrive in the tropics. They have a distinct bracing flavor that is acidic, clean, and crisp.
How to use it: Use them to make marinades and dressings, drinks, and pies. You can also use the zest to add a tangy touch to different dishes.
The local version of the lime, it’s also green, but smaller than a regular lime, with pulp that is much greener (the meat of the lime is yellower). Compared to calamansi, dayap has a stronger flavor.
How to use it: Substitute it for lemons on occasion. You can also use it as a souring agent for sinigang. Use the juice to make refreshing coolers, and the zest for pies and flans.
Native to our country, calamansi is essential in Filipino cooking. Although sweeter than limes and dayap, it’s still used as a souring agent in cooking. It’s the smallest one of the lot, and is dark green when unripe and yellow-orange when ripe. It has a thin skin, with pulp that is yellow-orange and very juicy.
How to use it: Squeeze it over seafood and pancit; make juice, cupcakes, marmalade, and curd; add it to marinades; and use it to tenderize meat.
Also known as ponkan or tangerine, this fruit is bright orange in color and smaller than a navel orange. Its skin is thinner and looser, making the fruit really easy to peel. The segments are also loose and easy to tear apart. It’s juicier and sweeter than regular oranges.
How to use it: Eat them as is. Mix the segments into salads and stir-fries, and use them in desserts. Canned mandarin orange segments are also very convenient and widely used.
Photography by Patrick Martires; original text appeared in the April 2014 issue of Yummy magazine