AGRUMES: tips for use and storage.

AGRUMES: tips for use and storage.

Winter brings to the table many fruits from the family of the Rutaceae, belonging to the genus Citrus. Nutritionally, these fruits belong to the VII fundamental food group. We are talking about the AGRUMES.

Citrus fruits are of different types, with different shape, flavor and color. Among the citrus fruits we can include the oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, etc. These, in turn, can be of different types. However, one thing unites them all: Are irresistibly good and rich in vitamins. Perhaps this is why the earth produces them in winter: to strengthen our immune system and to “warm” our hearts!

Not all environments, however, are suitable for the cultivation and production of these fruits. Citrus fruits are very sensitive to cold and, therefore, require a mild and temperate climate. When winter temperatures drop around 0 degrees, citrus trees begin to suffer the first damage. The situation worsens as the temperature drops further. For this reason, citrus cultivation occurs mainly in southern parts of Italy and in Sicily, in particular. Mild winters give citrus fruits colors, flavors and characteristics that cannot be repeated elsewhere.

And so the best-looking and best-tasting citrus fruits, especially those organic from Sicily, arrive on our tables. What use can we make of it? How can we store them as long as possible without wasting anything? Find out some tips.


Of the citrus fruits nothing is thrown away: everything can be used in different ways, from pulp to juice to zest. They are for eating and drinking, but they are also ideal ingredients in our tastiest dishes.

It all depends on how we store the various parts of which they are composed.

For example, the first thing to know and do is to place the newly purchased citrus fruits in an airy container. Secondly, we must avoid piling them up and crushing them. At this point we can store the citrus in the refrigerator. Alternatively, if you prefer to keep them out of the refrigerator, you need to make sure it is a cool, airy place away from heat sources and with low humidity. In this way the citrus fruits will last for long periods, even more than 1 month, retaining their taste and properties.

Another thing to know is that you can freeze citrus fruits, in different forms: 

– Thinly sliced to reseal in freezer bags, ideal for garnishing our desserts or cocktails.

– The zest you will have grated, with a small grater or peeler. Reseal it in freezer bags or small jars. It will be ideal for flavoring your dishes (great to sprinkle on some pasta dishes or to add to breadcrumbs when preparing some main courses). Also, to give flavor to a broth or to prepare an herbal tea.

– Freshly squeezed and strained juice, store it in ice containers or glass bottles. So you can have it any time of the year! It will be used to make citrus creams and sauces for your desserts and to season your fish or meat.

In addition to freezing, another optimal preservation method for citrus peel isdrying.

Just let it bake in the oven, at 100° for two hours, and then blend it in a blender to make lemon or orange flour or whatever. Store it in tightly sealed jars to use when needed.

And then go fancy and have fun! You can make jams, creams, puddings, jellies, desserts, you name it… but most of all enjoy them as they are, with all their amazing flavors.