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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Cooking In Season With Winter Citrus

Cooking with winter citrus is a great way to teach your kids about new fruits while adding a fresh source of nutrients to your meals.


Photo: MGF/Lady Disdain (Flickr)

Cranberries are not only packed with lots of nutrients, they are also in season right now.

Citrus In Season

As we all know, it is best to eat fruits and vegetables when they are in the midst of their peak season. When produce is at its ripest, it also carries the most nutritional value. As a parent, I feel obligated to incorporate seasonal selections into our family meal plan.

I recently visited my local fresh market and I realized that winter citrus are now in season. There are a wide variety of these produce, some of which I have yet to taste.

It is always fun to discover different varieties of fruits and vegetables, and it’s equally fun to let your kids discover new varieties of foods to help broaden their culinary pallets.

Winter Fruits And Their Uses

I did some research and this is what I learned about winter citrus:

  • Cara Cara Navels: They are sweet with a spicy tang and overtones of raspberry and strawberry. They are virtually seedless. You can eat cara cara navels out of hand or add their juice to sauces.
  • Meyer Lemons: They have a thin skin with a distinct flavor and aroma. This variety is much sweeter than other lemons. Use them to make lemonade, ice tea or chess pies.
  • Minneola Tangelos: This is a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine with a distinctly shaped neck. You can use the tart, honey flavored juice on its own or mixed with other juices.
  • Blood Oranges: The have deep burgundy flesh with a range of flavors from sweet to tart with berry overtones. Eat them fresh out of hand or use as a garnish. You can also squeeze the juice into sauces and glazes.
  • Satsuma Tangerines: These have a rich, intensely colored flesh. These are great to peel and eat out of hand.
  • Texas Rio Star Grapefruit: This sweet grapefruit from the Rio Grande Valley is a combination of the two reddest varieties: Rio Red and Star Ruby. The flesh is much redder than Ruby Red and it’s very sweet, making this fruit a great choice for healthy snacking.

Hot Drink From Winter Fruit

After getting to know winter citrus a bit better, I found a great recipe that my family and I enjoy making together. This recipe incorporates some of what is in season now and it is packed with nutrients.

Cranberry Tea


  • 16 ounces cranberries
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup orange juice (approximately 3 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (approximately 3 lemons)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups sugar or organic agave sweetener to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat water and cranberry’s just to boiling.
  2. Remove from heat and allow berries to pop and let cool. Remove berries from your pot without squeezing.
  3. Add all other ingredients and bring back up to a boil. Let it cool. This tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Nicole I. Henderson

Nicole I. Henderson is a wife and mother of three kids. The question that she gets asked everyday is ‘What's for dinner?’ She has realized that what we put into our bodies has an impact on our health and well being. Nicole is coaching parents on how to transition and maintain healthy eating habits for their kids from her own journey as a parent. Nicole is also the owner of Selsi Enterprises, a marketing communications and event planning company based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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