Sunday, December 20, 2020

15 Cozy Ways to Enjoy Citrus During the Holidays

For most of us, no time of the year feels more festive and “right” for citrus than the winter and holiday season. Why is that? Well, here are some reasons:

--Citrus is a winter fruit! (And aren’t we lucky that it is?) It’s at its fresh and juicy best down here in Florida right when it’s coldest and dreariest in chillier parts of the world.
--Citrus has a historic association with Christmas traditions. You might be familiar with the very old and fun tradition of putting an orange in the toe of a Christmas stocking, for instance! In Germany, children receive oranges (along with sweets and nuts) in their shoes on December 6th—St. Nicholas’s Day.
--Citrus is traditionally and deliciously used in holiday recipes. It goes so well with many holiday flavors, including roasted meats, spices, and nuts.
--Citrus is gorgeous and looks beautiful with decorations.
--Citrus has long been a traditional holiday gift, especially for those of us lucky enough to live in Florida.
--The freshness and healthfulness of citrus just “feels right” at this time of year, especially around New Year’s when many of us are trying to recover from all that holiday food.

We thought we’d make a fun list of some of the ways to enjoy citrus during the winter season. We're sure you can think of others to add!

1. Heat up some mulled cider or mulled wine

It’s easy and fun to enjoy these on cold nights using homemademulling spices including dried orange peel. This is a really easy and fun little gift to whip up. Or try this cranberry-orange mulled wine, made with Cabernet sauvignon, brandy, spices, and fresh- sliced oranges. Perfect for celebrating.

2. Make your own homemade orange liqueur or orange vodka

We featured these two projects on our blog a while ago and it’s been one of our most popular entries. Very easy, fun, and a unique gift!

3. Roast your turkey with citrus

citrus brine or citrus roasted turkey adds brightness and flavor to poultry. Try it this year if you haven’t before!

4. Craft homemade decorative garlands out of dried orange slices

These give your home a lovely rustic and organic look, and are simple and inexpensive to make. 

5. Candy some orange peel for a traditional treat

This tasty candy is a little more involved than some of the other recipes we’ve featured on the site, but it’s worth it! If you really love oranges, you’ve got to try making these.

6. Make a simple citrus simmer pot

It’s so easy to put on a simple simmer pot of oranges, cinnamon sticks and other spices to fragrance your home (and add some warmth and humidity, if it’s cold and dry).  Everything will smell like Christmas!

7. Decorate with citrus

There are many ways to use the natural beauty of citrus to enhance the look of your home at the holidays. You can create ornaments and garlands using dried orange slices or just use citrus, pine boughs, candles, ornaments, beautiful cloths, natural items, or whatever works for you. The beauty of nature is hard to surpass.

8. Make a traditional cranberry-orange sauce

My family serves a cold cranberry-orange relish, but I also like a cooked cranberry-orange sauce. Either way you do it, it's better than the kind in the can (okay, we know some of you love it!)

9. Make fun holiday name tags using citrus

Small tangerines or Page oranges tagged with name cards (wrap the fruit in pretty tissue paper, then tie with decorative twine and attach the tag) make for gorgeous named settings, with a small gift built in.

10. Of course, bake cookies using orange flavors!

Some of our favorites include cranberry-orange pinwheels, orange-almond biscotti , and Italian orange-ricotta cookies.

11. Create these simple citrus sugars and salts

Take just a short amount of time to make these. Then put them in pretty jars for gift to family and friends. You’d be surprised by how they elevate dishes from basic to gourmet.

12. Make a delicious-smelling citrus skincare scrub

If your giftees are more into beauty than goodies, make them this very easy skincare scrub. No weird ingredients, and it will bring out anyone’s natural glow.

13. Craft an old-fashioned orange pomander

Used to make rooms or drawers smell wonderful , the pomander is an old and fun tradition. Why not try making one yourself this year? 

14. Bake a loaf of cranberry-orange bread

A favorite in my family and often shared at Christmas, this easy quick bread is a classic. 

15. Whip up a seasonal citrus cocktail or mocktail

At a time of festive drinks and gatherings, this is an obvious choice. We’ve often featured delicious drinks made from citrus on our site—here’s a great list of citrus and cocktails and mocktails.

Happy holidays to you and yours from all of us at Florida Fruit Shippers. Enjoy the flavors of the season.





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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Top 10 Ways to Eat Grapefruit

In my family, it just isn’t Christmas morning without grapefruit. I’m not sure where this tradition started, but it’s been going on for years. After the stockings have been opened, we all look forward to a special Christmas bread (it’s tricky to make, but delicious), served with halved grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar on top.

This might be the way you grew up eating grapefruit—as a breakfast fruit that required a little bit of work for each bite. But there are lots of ways to enjoy these big, juicy, beautiful fruits. Let’s rank the top 10.

10. Grilled

This preparation is similar to broiling, but you have to admit that it seems more fun. You simply slice the fruit, top with a sugar mixture, and throw it on the grill. Serve with fish or chicken or on ice cream.

9. In salsa

What, grapefruit salsa? Heck, yes. If you’ve never had a fruit salsa, you don’t know what you’re missing. Try this one, which includes grapefruit, avocadoes, cucumbers, cilantro and lime. You can eat this with fish or corn chips.

8. In a savory salad

Like other citrus, grapefruit also can be used to great effect in savory salads. One classic you may not know if you’re not from a warmer climate is the delectable combo of grapefruit and avocado, which just works. It’s also delicious on dark green salads with nuts and cheeses.

7. With seafood

Grapefruit also harmonizes beautifully with seafood, such as shrimp, crab, salmon and other fish. Try these shrimp with grapefruit glaze today and live a little bit of the Florida lifestyle.

6. In a cake

There are lots of desserts out there that feature grapefruit, but grapefruit cake comes up over and over again, and for good reason. The most common versions I see are a glazed poundcake (sometimes also made with yogurt) or a fancy frosted layer cake—there is a famous one called the Brown Derby grapefruit cake that looks delectable.

5. Halved, topped with sugar, and put under the broiler

This is quite easy, and a little bit exciting. Just halve the fruit, slice the bottoms off (to make them more stable), top with raw or brown sugar, and run under the broiler or flame with a crème brulee torch. Some people like to add other toppings, like a bit of salt, red pepper flakes, or herbs.

4. Peeled, pithed and eaten out of hand

How do you easily peel and eat the sweet, juicy sections of a grapefruit without the white pith and membrane? There are actually several ways. The basic idea is to remove the outside peel, take off as much pith as possible, then use a knife to help you pop out the segments and leave the membrane behind. Here’s one tutorial.

3. Halved and in a bowl

The classic. Just cut your grapefruit down the middle and scoop out the halved segments. I’ve always just used a little knife to make the segments easier to get out, but there are some fun tools out there if that is up your alley. Have you ever tried a grapefruit spoon? What about a grapefruit knife? If you love to eat grapefruit this way, check out these reviews of the best options for these tools!

2. Juiced

We can’t forget one of the most obvious uses for this big, juicy fruit. There is something so refreshing about grapefruit juice, and it also tastes amazing when mixed with other juices or sparkling water. Ruby red grapefruit juice is my favorite, but some prefer white grapefruit juice, including tiki drink lovers. There are many wonderful grapefruit juice cocktails.

1. In a fruit salad

Grapefruit mixes so well with other citrus or other winter fruit to make a gorgeous and stunning fruit salad. We think it goes especially well with kiwi, pomegranate seeds, blackberries, and pineapple. It also harmonizes well with some fun flavors like mint and ginger. To prepare grapefruit for a fruit salad, try supreming it.

Looking for a source for quality grapefruit? Florida Fruit Shippers sells some of the most delicious, juicy, sweet grapefruit around. You won't be disappointed.

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