Adding Flavor and Color with Citrus Fruits

Adding Flavor and Color with Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are used to add flavor and color to dishes. They are also served as a functional garnish with some foods - for instance, a slice of lime with a Cuban-style black bean soup or a wedge of lemon with a broiled fish.

Although citrus fruits keep well, be sure that the fruit you select is not bruised or softened. Before juicing citrus fruits, you should allow them to come to room temperature if possible. Roll the fruit under the palm of your hand on a cutting board or other hard work surface before juicing to break some of the membranes. This helps to release more juice. Remember to strain out seeds and pith before using the juice, either by covering the citrus fruit with cheesecloth before squeezing it, or by straining it after juicing. There are numerous special tools to juice citrus fruits including reamers, extractors, hand-held and electric juicers.

Zesting Citrus Fruit

The zest, the outer portion of a citrus fruit's peel or rind, is used to add color, texture and flavor to various preparations. The zest includes only the skin's brightly colored part, which contains much of the fruits flavorful and aromatic volatile oils. It does not include the underlying white pith, which has a bitter taste. Use the following method to zest a citrus fruit.

  • Use a paring knife, swivel-bladed peeler, or zester to remove only the peel's colored portion.

  • If julienne or grated zest is required, use a chef's knife to cut or mince the zest. Grated zest can also be prepared using the fine holes of a box grater.

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