10 Ways to Truly Celebrate Peak Citrus Season
Make a stunning citrus salad, blood orange semifreddo, or fermented lemonade.
The arrival of citrus season always offers a bright diversion from the dark, final days of winter. Grocery stores are graced with the presence of sumo citrus pyramids—a sign that spring is coming, and our favorite sources of vitamin C are going to taste better than ever.
We consulted a number of experts in the food and beverage industry, as well as a few TikTok cooks, for ideas on how to best take advantage of your favorite citrus this time of year. Sure, you can add lemon zest while baking, or make freshly squeezed orange juice, but there are many more ways to have some fun with these sweet-and-sour beauties.
Throw together a refreshing citrus salad
“Since chicory and citrus share the same season, it’s only natural to put them in a vibrant salad together. I want to highlight all the citrus I can, so I use navel, blood, and cara cara oranges as well as kishu mandarins. I remove the skins and cut them into thick, juicy slices. To make the vinaigrette, I combine Meyer lemon bits, shallots, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and olive oil. The sweet citrus is offset with the bitter chicories, shaved fennel, and the tangy meyer lemon vinaigrette—it’s a perfect way to enjoy the winter season.”—Spencer Huey, cook, Chez Panisse
Forget chocolate-covered strawberries, make candied oranges instead
Boost immunity with a mocktail ritual
“Use the juice of one small lime in a nightly mocktail to give yourself approx 20-30% US RDA of Vitamin C—a powerful antioxidant that not only boosts immunity but also increases collagen production. You can make a simple lime ginger mocktail—it’s just equal parts fresh iced ginger tea and carbonated water plus the juice of one lime!”—Andrea Marcellus, fitness and nutrition expert
Preserve lemons for a bright, flavor-inducing condiment
Garnish cocktails with a citrus sugar rub
Try your hand at making sima, or Finnish fermented lemonade
“Sima is a traditional honey lemonade from Finland that's sweet, bubbly, and ever so slightly alcoholic. It's lightly fermented, which makes it bubbly and refreshing, but it's low enough in alcohol for anyone to enjoy. With just a few ingredients, it's easy to make your own at home (no trip to Finland required!)”—Ashley Adamant, blogger, Adamant Kitchen
Upgrade your next chicken dinner with an orange glaze marinade
Highlight the best of the bounty with a tropical dessert
“I’ve been making passionfruit lemon bars and they are always very well received—super easy and tasty. They have a standard shortbread crust (flour, powdered sugar, butter), but I add lemon zest to this step, as well as a little bit of lemon juice. The custard filling is a couple of eggs, sugar, a pinch of baking powder, salt, the zest of at least 1 large lemon, a few tablespoons of the lemon juice, and one teaspoon of passion fruit juice as well. Bake, and let cool. Drizzle fresh passionfruit pulp with seeds on top and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Best served chilled or frozen.”—Nick Brown, farmer, Rincon Tropics
Simmer a comforting bowl of avgolemono soup
Whip up a tangy, frozen treat
“If I was at home with a craving for something frozen, I would make a blood orange semifreddo—especially because blood oranges are in season and the recipe does not require any big equipment.” —Robb Duncan, owner, Dolcezza Gelato
- ½ cup of fresh squeezed blood orange juice
- 1 ½ tablespoon of blood orange zest
- 1 ¾ cups of chilled heavy cream
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 ¼ cups of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1. Line a 9x5x3-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving generous overhang.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream while making custard.
3. Whisk 1 ¼ cups sugar, egg yolks, blood orange juice, blood orange zest, and salt in a large metal bowl to blend. Set the bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the yolk mixture is thick and fluffy and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 170°F.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until cool, thick, and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes.
5. Fold in chilled whipped cream.
6. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf pan and smooth top. Tap the loaf pan lightly on the work surface to remove air pockets. Fold plastic wrap overhang over top to cover. Freeze semifreddo until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight. Semifreddo can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.