welcome to citrus-palooza

Citrus-palooza

Citrus-palooza

Welcome to citrus-palooza — a random tasting of commonly and more uncommonly known mainstream-citrus cousins and hybrids. The place where mandarins and tangerines mate to create the charmingly named, Pixie, and where intimidatingly named Sumo Oranges win over hearts {mine} and beat the competition handsomely.

Sage-Meyer Lemon Bread

Sage-Meyer Lemon Bread

To prepare for the pucker playoffs, we needed something to cleanse the palate — whole wheat bread with sage and meyer lemon zest sounded like a good fit. And to slather: lemon-sardine butter.

Sardine Butter

Sardine Butter

And now for the line-up:

Citrus Spread

Citrus Spread

Suggested order for tasting {sweet to tart}:

  1. Pixie Tangerine. What: cross between a king mandarin and kincy tangerine. Peel: light orange and easy to peel. Inside: Sweet, seedless, lower acidy makes this lady great for snacking. 
  2. Sumo Orange. What: cross between a mandarin and a california navel orange. Peel: thick and knobby with a top knot like a sumo wrestlers makes it extremely easy to peel. Inside: intensely sweet {in a good way} with no seeds. It took 30 years to develop in Japan, and its flavor lives up to the expectation that such a long training period will outshine the citrus competition.
  3. Murcott. What: cross between a tangerine and a sweet orange. Peel: smooth, deep orange and easy to peel. Inside: Sweet, but slightly tart. Similar in taste to a clementine. Deep orange in color with no seeds.
  4. Pomelo. What: native to southeast Asia, it is a hybrid of a grapefruit and orange. Peel: thick, smooth pale yellow peel with a thick spongy wall. Inside: Pale pink (lighter than a pink grapefruit) and very mild in flavor. Lacks the excitement of a grapefruit’s flavor.
  5. Meyer Lemon. What: cross between a lemon and an orage. Peel: smooth, deep yellow with orange hue, edible. Inside: pale yellow, milder tartness than a regular lemon.
  6. Kumquat. What: native to Asia-Pacific, trees can grow up to thousands of kumquats a year. Peel: thin, orange and edible. Inside: tart like a lemon, with a great burst of flavor. Great snacks or on salads.
  7. Mandarinquat. What: cross between a kumquat and a mandarin. Peel: oval shaped with knobby end. Inside: Lots of seeds, bright orange, and tart! Great for a margarita?!

And the winner is…

Citrus-palooza line-up

Citrus-palooza line-up

The Sumo Orange. Easy to peel and full of sweet, sweet flavor with the added bonus of no seeds and big slices means we can’t really think of a reason why you wouldn’t eat these all day long. Run to your closest Whole Foods or specialty market and get a grip on one of these prized treats. Citrus season is coming to a close and you don’t want to miss this show.

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