ZEST FOR LIFE

Q: Other then fighting scurvy what are citrus fruits good for?

The citrus industry is one of the most important horticultural industries in Australia producing approximately 600,000 tonnes of fruit each year. In fact the citrus fruit industry is our largest fresh fruit exporter, generating over $200 million annually for our economy. If you’re a little closer to home and looking to add vibrant colour and flavour to your winter menu- you’re in luck- as our citrus farmers have a wonderful array of fruits that will get the juices flowing. Beyond the delicious and much-loved Navel Oranges and Mandarins, the winter chill also brings out the bitter-sweet goodness in blood oranges, pomelos, grapefruit, lemons, tangelos or for those adventurous few – Buddha hands.  

NAVEL ORANGES:

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Main Growing Areas: Murray Valley, Riverina and Riverland

Availability: Apr – Nov, best May – Sept

Appearance: round, seedless fruit with a thick orange rind and belly-button formation at the blossom end  

Flesh: orange, segmented flesh with distinct section at the blossom end – full of flavour

Flavour: juicy, sweet- excellent eating

Selection: look for bright, plump fruit that is heavy for size

Inspiration: Orange and salt cod saladVogue Entertaining + Travel

Click for Recipe!

 

BLOOD ORANGES:

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Availability: Jun – Aug

Appearance: medium sized fruit with orange skin and red blush

Flesh: orange- red flesh (contains anthocyanins- which produce the rich colour)

Flavour: sweet, juicy and less acidic that regular oranges

Selection: look for bright, plump fruit that is heavy for size

Inspiration: Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Confit Panna Cotta – LA Mag

Click for recipe!

 

MANDARINS:

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Main Growing Areas: QLD (65% of total Aussie production), Griffith, Sunraysia

Availability: Apr – Aug

Selection: look for plump, bright fruit, heavy for size

Main varieties: Imperial, Murcott, Ellendale, Hickson & Taylor-Lee

Imperial: Apr – Jun

Appearance: yellow-orange slightly bumpy skin, medium size (easy peel & low seed)

Flavour: very sweet, balanced flavour and lovely perfume

Murcot (Honey Murcott): July to late Aug/Sept

Appearance: medium-large fruit with smooth, orange, thin skin

Flavour: sweet and juicy- good eating

Ellendale: Jun – Jul

Appearance: rich orange, medium-large, smooth skin

Flavour: very tangy- (high sugar and acid levels)

Hickson: late May – late Jul

Appearance: medium-large with a slight neck, wrinkled, orange skin with a reddish tinge (easy peel)

Flavour: sweet and very juicy – good eating

Taylor-Lee: Jun – Jul/Aug

Appearance: medium-large with a slight neck, tight orange skin with a reddish tinge (easy peel)

Flavour: rich, sweet – top quality eating

Inspiration: Spanner crab kinilaw recipe – Peter Kuruvita via SBSFood

Click for Recipe!

 

LEMONS:

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Availability: all year, at best Mar – Oct

Appearance: oval, light green to yellow fruit (some have distinct point)

Flesh: pale yellow

Flavour: acidic, tangy fruit

Varieties: Lisbon (most common variety) is smooth skinned and tangy, while the Eureka variety has bumpy skin, an obvious neck and is tart in flavour

Selection: look for plump, bright fruit, heavy for size

Inspiration: Lemon parfait, fennel pollen ice cream, fennel granita, and olive oil jelly – Adam Simmonds via Great British Chefs

Click for Recipe

 

TANGELO:

Image Source: www.taste.com.au

Availability: Jul- Nov

Appearance: large fruit with thin, orange skin and a distinct neck (easy peel and segment)

Flesh: very juicy, segmented flesh that is virtually seedless

Flavour: a cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin the tangelo is tangy and very juicy (still sweet but slightly more tart than a mandarin)

Selection: look for bright, undamaged skin, plump fruit that is heavy for size

Inspiration: Grilled tangelos with pistachio brittle – Sydney Morning Herald

Click for Recipe!

 

POMELO: aka pummelo

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Availability: White variety:  Mar – Nov, Pink variety: Jun – Nov

Appearance: large fruit with a very thick skin that is light green-yellow (thick skin means a good shelf life)

Flesh: segmented like a mandarin, flesh is juicy and varies in colour from yellow to pink

Flavour: sweet and tangy- lacks the bitterness of grapefruit and is great for juicing, salads, desserts or even preserving

Selection: look for bright, undamaged skin, plump fruit that is heavy for size

InspirationPomelo, banana blossom and roast pork salad – Geoff Lindsay via Gourmet Traveller

Click for Recipe!

 

GRAPEFRUIT:

Availability: available all year, at best Apr – Nov

Selection: look for plump, bright fruit, heavy for size

Image Source: www.agriculturalproductsindia com

Marsh Seedless:

Appearance: yellow skin

Flesh: pale yellow flesh, no seeds

Flavour: mildly tangy and sweet- great for marinades

Pink Marsh: aka Thompson

Appearance: yellow skin

Flesh: light pink flesh with no seeds

Flavour: sweet when ripe

Ruby: aka Red Blush, Ruby Red

Image Source: www.gofor2and5.com.au

Appearance: smooth skin with a strong red blush

Flesh: juicy, dark orange–red segmented flesh

Flavour: sweeter than yellow brethren- wonderful fresh, juiced or in salads

InspirationSwordfish carpaccio with pink grapefruit and pink peppercorns – Gourmet Traveller

Click for Recipe!

 

BUDDHA HANDS: aka Fingered Citron

Image Source: www.johnvenaproduce.com

Availability: Jun – Oct

Appearance: has a thick yellow skin (rind) and finger like tendrils coming from the stem end

Flesh: none to speak of

Flavour: fragrant, lemon- skin is bitter but pith underneath is quite sweet

Selection: look for bright, undamaged fruit with a good aroma

Inspiration: Grilled coral trout with pickled Buddha’s hands – Gourmet Traveller

Click for Recipe

 

MARUMI CUMQUATS: aka Kumquat, Kinkan

Image Source: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: autumn/winter

Appearance: small orange fruits with a thin peel that are round-oval in shape

Flesh: segmented yellow-orange flesh

Flavour: intense, sweet-sour flavour,- most often candied, glazed or preserved though can be eaten fresh or even in liquer

Selection: start to deteriorate once picked so look for robust, bright fruit with no obvious damage on skin

Inspiration: Grilled chicken with late-picked wine and cumquats – Stephanie Alexander via Sydney Morning Herald

Click for Recipe!

 

A: While you’d be hard pressed to develop scurvy these days, strokes are our second single greatest killer and on the rise due to an aging population. Which is why a recent study by Norwich Medical School (UK) finding women who consumed higher levels of citrus fruit (especially grapefruit and oranges) had a 19% less chance of suffering a ischemic (blood-clot related) stroke is so exciting. It is believed the high levels of vitamin C/flavonoids (antioxidant) present in citrus fruits and juices, help prevent stroke by improving blood vessel function and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent on the body.     

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