Winter brings to the table many fruits of the Rutaceae family, belonging to the Citrus genus. From a nutritional point of view, these fruits belong to the VII fundamental group of foods. We’re talking about CITRUS FRUIT!
Citrus fruits are of different types, with different shapes, flavors and colors. Among citrus fruits we can include oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, etc. These, in turn, can be of different types. However, one thing unites them all: they are irresistibly good and full of vitamins. Maybe that’s why the earth produces them in winter: to strengthen our immune system and to “warm” our hearts!
However, not all environments 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 the winter temperature drops to around 0 degrees, the citrus fruits begin to suffer the first damage. The situation worsens as the temperature drops further. For this reason, the cultivation of citrus fruits takes place above all in the southern areas of Italy and in Sicily, in particular. The mild winters give the citrus fruits colors, flavors and characteristics that cannot be repeated elsewhere.
And so the most beautiful and tastiest citrus fruits, especially the organic ones from Sicily, arrive on our tables. What use can we make of it? How can we keep them for as long as possible, without wasting anything? Check out some tips.
HOW TO PRESERVE CITRUS FRUIT
Nothing is thrown away from citrus fruits: everything can be used in different ways, from the pulp, to the juice, to the zest. They are to eat and drink, but they are also the ideal ingredients for our tastiest dishes.
It all depends on how we keep the various parts of which they are made up.
For example, the first thing to know and do is to arrange freshly purchased citrus fruits in an airy container. Secondly, we must avoid crowding and crushing them. At this point we can store the citrus fruits in the fridge. Alternatively, if you prefer to keep them out of the fridge, make sure it’s in a cool, airy place, away from heat sources and with a low humidity rate. In this way the citrus fruits will last for long periods, even more than 1 month, preserving their taste and their properties.
Another thing to know is that it is possible to freeze citrus fruits, in different forms:
- Thinly sliced to be closed in freezer bags, ideal for garnishing our desserts or cocktails.
- The zest that you will have grated, with a small grater or a potato peeler. Close it in freezer bags or small jars. It will be ideal for flavoring your dishes (excellent to sprinkle on some first courses or to add to the breadcrumbs for the preparation of some second courses). Also, to add flavor to a broth or to prepare an herbal tea.
- The juice, freshly squeezed and filtered, keep it in ice containers or glass bottles. So you can have it at any time of the year! It will be used to prepare creams and citrus sauces for your desserts and to season your fish or meat.
In addition to freezing, another optimal storage method for citrus peel is drying.
Just let it cook in the oven, at 100° for two hours, and then blend it in a mixer, to obtain a lemon or orange flour or something else. Keep it in hermetically sealed jars to be used when needed.
And then go fancy and have fun! You can prepare jams, creams, puddings, jellies, sweets and so on and so forth… but above all, enjoy them as they are, with all their surprising flavours.