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One of the most recognizable ingredients in the kitchen and a welcome bright spot in the colder winter months, citrus fruits are equally at home in sweet and savoury dishes. While many species are quite well known, there are numerous unique and underappreciated varieties out there, including many with highly distinctive flavour profiles.
Citrus is easy to work with, and easy to find. Even the more unusual varieties are becoming popular among specialty grocers, and their long shelf-life allows them to be shipped long distances and stored for relatively long periods.
This growing collection highlights all of the citrus Ingredient Pages here on Diversivore, along with recipes, broken down by the type of citrus used.
Below you’ll find all of the citrus Ingredient Pages currently on Diversivore. Each of these guides includes detailed information on finding, choosing, and using the ingredient in and clear and easy-to-navigate format.
Citrus × limon
Easily one of the most familiar citrus flavours in the contemporary culinary repertoire, lemon is a fantastic flavour to work with, and easy to partner with lots of other flavours. The recipes in this section use conventional Eureka style lemons, but sweeter and more fragrant Meyer lemons could be used as a substitute in some situations.
With Basil Cannellini Hummus & Grilled Lemons
Ever grilled a lemon? It’s like magic. Seriously wonderful things happen. And the juice that comes from a grilled lemon is perfect alongside basil-cannellini hummus and grilled halloumi.
Scallops and Asparagus
With Lemon Spaghettini
Possibly my favourite seafood of all time, simple seared scallops are exquisite with lemony spaghettini and thin ribbons of asparagus.
Japanese Lemon Herb Risotto
A fun experiment that also happened to be ridiculously delicious, this creamy and rich risotto uses Japanese short grain rice, sake in place of white wine, and plenty of bright, delicious lemon.
Garlic and Lemon Bok Choy
With Black Sesame Noodles
This simple vegan dish is a showcase of surprising flavours and textures. Bok choy becomes amazingly creamy when stir-fried, and makes a fantastic accompaniment to garlic and lemon. Put it together with Taiwanese style black sesame noodles, and you’ve got a show-stopper.
Pacific Dover Sole
With Lemon & Ginger
An example of how something simple like lemon zest can completely transform a meal. This is a far less expensive take on Sole a la Meunière, with some added Asian flare in the form of ginger and black rice.
Citrus × sinensis
In contrast to the bitter Seville orange (see below), sweet oranges are most familiar to us when eaten out of hand. That being said, they add fantastic character to salads, seafood, and other dishes, and the zest can be used to add punches of intense orange flavour.
Mexican Christmas Salad
Beautiful crimson blood oranges and pinkish cara cara oranges form the base for this spectacular and wonderfully flavourful salad. It might be a Christmas specialty, but it’s good any day of the year.
Shrimp and Clams
With Black Bean and Citrus Sauce
The citrus flavour in this awesome Chinese seafood dish can actually come from a few different sources (orange, tangerine, or mandarin). In any case, if you’ve got peels, and a bit of time to dry them, you’ve got the makings of a fantastic Chinese pantry staple that works perfectly with shellfish, snow peas, and douchi (fermented black beans).
Rhubarb Apple Crisp
With Orange Zest & Cinnamon
Citrus might be a minor player in this dessert, but it packs a big punch, and really rounds out the dish. Orange zest is the perfect compliment to the sweet/tart apple and rhubarb and the fragrant cinnamon.
Seville (Bitter) Orange
Citrus × aurantium
Commonly (and correctly) associated with marmalade, these bitter/sour oranges are intensely flavoured and phenomenal ingredients in a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes. They bring a powerful orange flavour to desserts that can’t be matched by sweet oranges, and the juice is fundamental to many Cuban and Mexican dishes.
Pressure Cooker Puerco Pibil
Thanks to the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, the flavours of authentic Mexican Puerco (or Cochinita) Pibil can be on your table in a fraction of the time normally needed (and there’s no need to dig a pit in your yard…). The flavours in this one absolutely aren’t to be missed! As a bonus, if you’re looking to try this but don’t have Seville oranges, there’s a great workaround using a combination of grapefruit, lime, and orange juice.
Seville Orange & Lemon Pie
It’s tempting to compare this to lemon meringue pie, but it’s a lot bolder and more intense thanks to the incredible Seville oranges and the chocolate graham cracker crust. The orange/chocolate fan in your life will flip for this.
Smoky Dried Chili Salsa
My take on Yucatecan K’uut Bi Ik, with aspects of Chile Tamulado thrown in for added depth. This smoky, fiery salsa is huge on flavour but easy to prepare any time because it uses dried (rather than fresh) chilies for the base.
Ever had bacon jam? If you haven’t, you’re going to want to click this right away – ESPECIALLY if you’re also a fan of all things orange and delicious. It’s breakfast in a jar, and it’s incredible.
Chicken with Marmalade & Balsamic Vinegar
This sounds like a strange flavour combination, but the sweet/sour/bitter combination is really incredible with chicken thighs. While you could technically use any marmalade, true Seville orange marmalade will deliver the best flavour (and even better if it’s homemade!)
Seville Orange French Toast
Another example of me trying to tone down the sweetness a bit, this recipe uses Seville orange to bring complexity and character to an often over-sweetened breakfast classic (but don’t worry, there’s still some good ol’ sugar thanks to the maple whipped cream).
Ah, the tiny, odd kumquat. They’re sort of like a very small orange… except you eat the whole thing, and the flavour is all in the peel. While their small size can make them a little more finicky to work with, they can be used to make some truly special dishes. The fact that they’re used whole makes them particularly useful for adding a punch of flavour, colour, and texture all at once.
Kumquat Apple Tart
With Scotch Whiskey Caramel
This tart is all kinds of unconventional (citrus and apple, crunchy whisky caramel, and a great firm-but-tender texture), but it’s a real show-stopper, and the flavours are amazing.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
With Candied Kumquats
Take one day to make candied kumquats, then take another to make this incredible, rich, chocolaty mousse. Then just… keep on eating those awesome candied kumquats.
Mandelo (Cocktail Grapefruit)
This is a somewhat poorly known citrus variety (and it doesn’t help that the names used in stores seem to vary wildly). The name mandelo is a portmanteau of of (frua) mandarin and pomelo, the parents of this fruit. Despite the cocktail grapefruit moniker, it’s not actually a grapefruit. The flavour is sweet, and somewhat similar to both its tangerine and pomelo parents, but without the bitterness typical of a pomelo or grapefruit.
Mandelo Zaru Soba
Zaru soba is one of those amazing dishes that’s about as simple as it can get while being a flavourful break from the ordinary. The tsuyu (dipping sauce) along with the sweet/citrus hit from the mandelo really pops against the distinctive taste of the buckwheat noodles.
The oversized and underappreciated pomelo is a wonderful citrus fruit to work with, especially for those who still appreciate a bit of bitterness in their citrus. The fruit can be pink or white, and juicy or relatively dry. Regardless, it’s always covered in a thick, fragrant skin and pith. Pomelo is actually one of the parents of grapefruit, and if you like the latter, you have to try the former.
Citrus cavaleriei × Citrus reticulata
Yuzu is probably the best known of the highly local (and hard to find) Japanese specialty citrus fruits. Because of its limited availability, lemon often stands in, but yuzu has an off-bitter, herbal quality all its own. While the fruits themselves are hard to come by, Japanese grocery stores will often stock the juice. It can be pricey, but it’s a wonderful ingredient to work with and a little goes a long way.
Scratch Ponzu Shoyu
Ponzu shoyu is a citrus-infused soy dipping sauce, typically made with yuzu or another Asian regional citrus variety. This simple but authentic recipe uses yuzu juice (which can be found at Japanese grocery stores) and lemons along with basic Japanese pantry staples to create a fantastic sauce that will blow store-bought out of the water. You can use ponzu with sashimi, or for the next two recipes.
Wafu Hambagu with Ponzu
Modern Japanese soul food. This pork and beef patty is loaded with flavour, and cooked with the ponzu sauce above.
Beef Tataki with Ponzu
A simple and spectacular cut of beef is rubbed in a dried shiitake spice mix and seared briefly, then served with ponzu, scallions, and watermelon radishes.
Grapefruit is well-known and easy to find, though perhaps a little under-appreciated in North America where the demand for bitter flavours is lower than in other parts of the world. The first grapefruits originated in Barbados from a cross between pomelo and sweet orange, going on to find great success as a crop in the Americas. They’re wonderfully suited to sweet and savoury dishes.
Sparkling Saffron Cocktail
This beautiful bubbly cocktail sounds high-end and fancy, but it’s actually quite easy to make. A saffron-cardamom simple syrup is perfect alongside bittersweet grapefruit juice and dry Spanish cava. It’s well-suited to brunches and cocktail parties alike.
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