Northern hemisphere populations’ love of citrus fruit continues unabashed. Both scientists and producers never stop creating new species by crossing the existing ones in an attempt to entice even more people to become more enthusiastic citrus fruit consumers.
Orange, lemon, and lime originated in the Far East, and gradually “travelled” west to the Mediterranean basin were compatible soil and climatic conditions yield tasty fruit.
Still today Spain, southern Italy and Greece are major suppliers of citrus to northern European countries.
All North African countries produce citrus, but most hardly export due to poor grading, packaging, and transportation except for Morocco. This country’s clementines are, juicy sweet, thin-skinned, and full of flavour.
Spanish clementines are larger, and less sweet than Moroccan but appealing to those who like their citrus more tangy than sweet.
Jaffa oranges from eastern Mediterranean have been famous for centuries and are exported to many European countries.
Citrus fruit were brought over to the Americas by Spaniards and thrive in many South American countries.
Central Americas have large and sweet limes, but few oranges and lemons.
Mexico grows and ships an abundance of citrus fruit.
Florida, Texas, and California are large citrus growing states, and much of what appears in Canadian stores originates from these states.
Occasionally, Japanese and Chinese mandarins become available, but they lack both juiciness and sweetness. Scientists have been forever experimenting to create new citrus species. Many of those new creating never catch on, but some are potentially appealing and are starting to appear in high-end stores. Eventually as more producers start shipping, prices fall and million get an opportunity to experience new taste sensations.
Pomelo, a cross between grapefruit and naval orange, is a large, mildly acid, yellow-green-skinned, pink-fleshed fruit with an appealing overall flavour.
Ugli fruit has been marketed for over 30 years now, but never really gained the popularity it deserves. This is probably due to its unfortunate name. A cross between grapefruit and tangerine, ugli fruit is easy to peel and possesses a sweet juicy flesh.
Etrog is lemon-shaped dry-fleshed citrus more appropriate for salads. The thick rind is candied and used in cakes.
Bergamot, an orange-sized citrus with a pointed stem has a lemony taste. Its oil is extracted from the thick rind and used as flavouring in specialty black tea.
Oro blanco is a cross between pomelo and grapefruit with a sweet taste and thick rind.
Heirloom navel oranges are fleshy, large, and moderately juicy, with intense and satisfying flavour that everyone should try at least once then possibly get hooked.
Minneola tangelo has a loose rind and sweet-tart flesh, very appealing flavour, and texture particularly to those who like their citrus more tangy than sweet. Minneola is a grapefruit and tangerine cross.
Paige mandarin has a red-orange flesh and loose skin. Larger than a clementine, Paige mandarin is s cross between minneola-tangelo and clementine.
Sweet lime is roundish with a smooth skin, pale yellow flesh, and low acidity. The taste is slightly bitter and best suited for marinades, or dressings instead of vinegar.
Kaffir lime has many seeds and a sour-tasting juice. Thai cooks use its aromatic leaves and juice in their curry recipes.
Key lime is small, green with floral flavour. Florida Key lime pie is famous for its appealing mild taste.
Mandarinquat is much larger than kumquat with pointed stem. A cross between mandarin and orange and kumquat, the flesh is sour and often used as a garnish or served with curries.
Limequat is mostly pickled, or used to produce marmalades or preserves. Limequat is a cross between lime and kumquat.
Basic citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, healthy and widely available. Exotic fruits on the other hand can be purchased at high-end greengrocers or obtained through mail order in the U S A.
Vitamin V is water-soluble and must be replenished daily and thus should be consumed frequently.
Kiwi fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C.
Most citrus fruit can be enjoyed on their own, but many are also very appealing in salads, as marinades, as replacement for vinegar in vinaigrette dressings, for making candied peels, and for baking. Some chocolatiers enrobe candied orange peels with chocolate.
Those who enjoy making their own marmalades should get bitter Seville oranges, and people interested in exotic juices may want to try the juice of Spanish blood oranges. The red colour is particularly appealing.
Sicily also produces and exports blood oranges but their taste is less concentrated than those from Spain.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.