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Zingy citrus fruits can liven up any dish by adding bright colour, fragrance, and a sweet-sour flavour. From fresh drinks and zesty snacks to juicy salads and sweet-tart desserts—and more!—there’s a lot you can do in the kitchen with all the types of citrus fruits available.

Get to know the types of citrus fruits

Lemons

Vibrant yellow and highly acidic, lemons pack a ton of refreshing flavour and zing! You'll often see varieties such as the common lemon and Meyer lemon.

Tips:

  • Lemon zest works wonders on pasta salads, or mix with ginger and salt for a delicious chicken rub.
  • To replace 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk, stir 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice into 1 cup (250 mL) milk or cream; let stand until curdled, 5 to 10 minutes.

Try:

Limes

The smallest yet most acidic of citrus fruits, limes have a beautiful bright-green colour and are often found in Indian and Latin American cuisine. You'll often see varieties such as the common (Persian) lime and Key lime.

Tips:

  • A squeeze of lime or a sprinkle of lime zest is the perfect way to take fruit or veggie salads up a notch.
  • A wedge of lime adds a refreshing touch to still or sparkling waters and many other beverages.
  • Make a delicious Mexican-inspired dinner for the family: Cook pork with oil, cumin, and lime zest and juice, then top with salsa and cilantro.

Try:

Oranges

Sweeter than its cousins, oranges are the most widely found citrus fruit with the most varieties. You'll often see varieties such as the Valencia, clementine, mandarin, tangerine, blood, navel and Cara Cara.

Tips:

  • Add segments of your favourite variety to sangria, fresh salads, or mulled apple cider. 
  • Add to marinades or vinaigrettes for a bright note or make into wonderful winter marmalades. 

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Grapefruit

Varying from light yellow-pink to red on the inside, this citrus fruit is larger than most, with a tart flavour that verges on bitter (which a sprinkling of sugar can help tame).  You'll often see white, pink or red grapfruits on shelves.

Tips:

  • Use pink or red grapefruit to brighten up salads, drinks, cocktails, and desserts alike.
  • Halve, top with cinnamon sugar, then broil until brown for a sweet-tart midday snack!  

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How to choose the best citrus

Choose firm citrus fruits that feel heavy for their size. Unblemished skin and a strong colour are also key.

How to store citrus

Citrus fruits can be refrigerated for several weeks, but keep at room temperature if you'll eat them within a week.

How to cook with citrus

When using citrus zest in a recipe, avoid the white pith part of the peel, which will impart a bitter flavour. Wash the fruit before using the zest.