While the cold weather might put a damper on Canada’s growing season during the winter months, citrus fruits grown by our neighbours to the south are at their peak during the coldest months of the year.
Tips for selecting and storing citrus fruit
Emily Richards, a Professional Food Economist who works with the Florida Department of Citrus shared with Help! the following tips for selecting and storing the best citrus:
- Choose citrus that has a heavy weight for its size. Look for an even colour along the fruit. Blemishes that may be on the outside are from leaves and twigs of the fruit trees and do not affect the inside of the fruit.
- Citrus, like Florida grapefruit, is in season in winter months when it’s at the peak of freshness, so although it is available year-round, you should look for it during the cold, dark months when you need that vitamin C the most.
- When you smell the citrus you should get a soft citrus aroma. The real enjoyment will be when you break through the zest and the scent of the essential oils and fresh aroma shine through.
- Citrus is often sold in bulk packaging, and you will get a great price for it; however, gently feel through the pack and make sure there are no soft spots on the fruit, which is an early sign of spoiling.
- Citrus fruit can be kept at room temperature for about one week, but for longer storage it should be refrigerated. Before you eat or use the citrus, try to remember to take it out and let it warm to room temperature again, so you can enjoy all the juiciness the fruit has to offer.
Five citrus recipe ideas
These 5 recipe ideas feature the bright, fresh flavours of grapefruits, oranges, and other citrus fruits and are kid-friendly to boot. They’re sure to help liven up and bring some colour to your winter meal prep.
1. This sweet and sour owl from Meet the Dubiens is a great way to get your kid’s daily vitamin C in for breakfast or as a snack, and features grapefruits, oranges, and clementines for a triple citrus punch.
2. A more savory citrus idea, these lemon pepper chicken tenders from The Gunny Sack make for a kid-friendly supper that is ready in 30 minutes. There’s also a recipe for a key-lime version on the site as well, if limes are more your thing.
3. A delightful mix of sweet and sour, this recipe for brown sugar grapefruit from Kids Activities Blog makes a nutritious accompaniment to breakfast or as a snack and is a tasty way to ease little ones into the taste of grapefruit. Top each half with a few slices of banana and broil briefly for an extra special treat.
4. These lemon cheesecake bars from Your Homebased Mom take all the deliciousness of a homemade cheesecake and put it into kid-friendly, grab-and-go bar form. Serve them for dessert or tuck one into your child’s lunchbox for dessert.
5. A perfect nut-free snack idea for school lunches, these coconut lime energy balls from Super Healthy Kids require just five ingredients and are ready in minutes. You can also make these into bars if you like.
Two delicious kid-friendly recipes
Richards also shared the following two delicious kid-friendly recipes with us: Grapefruit Stuffed French Toast and Grapefruit Yogurt Mousse with Poppyseed Shortbread (you can omit the shortbread from the recipe if you’re crunched for time).
Grapefruit Stuffed French Toast
A perfect way to enjoy a family breakfast or a weekend brunch. The combination of fresh Florida Grapefruit, cinnamon, and maple syrup will have this recipe appearing on your table often!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
2 Florida ruby red grapefruits
1/2 cup (125 mL) cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar, divided
3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground cinnamon, divided
8 slices egg bread
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
Using a rasp, remove 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of zest from one grapefruit.
In a bowl, stir together 1/4 tsp (1 mL) of the grapefruit zest with cream cheese, 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the sugar and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the cinnamon.
Cut skin and pith from both grapefruits and cut into segments. Chop half of one grapefruit and stir into cream cheese mixture. Spread over 4 pieces of the bread and top with remaining slices.
In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, and remaining grapefruit zest, sugar and cinnamon. Dip each sandwich into egg mixture coating both sides well.
Melt butter in large nonstick or griddle and add sandwiches in batches if necessary. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, turning once or until golden brown on both sides.
In a bowl, combine remaining grapefruit segments and maple syrup and spoon over french toast. Enjoy!
Grapefruit Yogurt Mousse with Poppy Seed Shortbread
This creamy mousse has bursts of fresh grapefruit throughout and the crisp shortbread is a perfect dipper to use to enjoy the flavour and contrast in textures.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
2 Florida ruby red grapefruit
1 cup (250 mL) 35% whipping cream
3 tbsp (45 mL) icing sugar
1 cup (250 mL) 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
Poppy Seed Shortbread:
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1/3 cup (75 mL) icing sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated Florida grapefruit zest
1 cup (250 mL) all purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) poppyseeds
Poppyseed Shortbread: In a bowl, using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in grapefruit zest. Stir in flour and poppy seeds and bring together with your hands until soft dough forms.
Place dough on floured surface and pat into a 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick, 8 inch (20 cm) circle. Cut into six wedges and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake in 325 F (160 C) oven for about 25 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool.
Using a rasp, remove 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of grapefruit zest from grapefruit and set aside. Peel and segment both grapefruits.
In a bowl, whip cream with icing sugar to soft peaks. Gently beat in yogurt, vanilla and grapefruit zest until combined. Fold in grapefruit segments and divide among six parfait cups and top each with wedge of shortbread. Enjoy!
Tip: You can reserve a few grapefruit segments to garnish the top of each serving.
Caitlin McCormack is a writer, editor and full-time mama to one cool little dude. When she’s not spending time at the park or working on recipes in the kitchen, you can find her lifting weights, growing her own veggies, or enjoying some precious time with her shift-working husband. Read her blog at Big City Mama or follow her on Twitter @Caitlin_Writes.
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