Citrus fruits have been used as additives in cooking for many centuries.
Citrus fruits are great on their own, juices or as the main ingredient in many dishes - particularly desserts, cakes or juices- however, their juice or zest adds flavor to many recipes.
Citrus fruits as flavorings
The sour citrus, limes, lemons and citrons, have been used for long, in culinary history, as a sour agent and to add a piquant flavor to dishes. The use of sweet citrus in sweet dishes and for eating is more recent, but important.
All types of citrus are available to a great degree. The citrus fruits belong to the Rutaceae family.
How to prepare citrus fruits
Both the juice and the rind of citrus fruits can be used in sweet and savory sauces, added to cooked dishes and are important in preserves, baking and liqueurs.
Juice. Use a hand or electric press to better extract the juice. For a few drops, stick a fork horizontally into one citrus half and squeeze, while holding it on top of of the food. The fork will stop the pips from falling.
Rind. Use a potato peeler or a cannelle (for julienne) knife. Avoid the white inner white pith, it tastes bitter and will sour the milk. If you are going to use the citrus peel as a sweetener, rub a sugar lump over it before adding it to desserts.
Flesh. Used in salads and desserts. Remove all traces of the white bitter pith and white inner core, and, ideally all segment membranes and seeds.
Citrus fruits have long been valued as part of a nutritious and tasty diet. The flavors provided by citrus are among the most preferred in the world, and it is increasingly evident that citrus not only tastes good, but is also good for you.
It's well established that citrus and citrus products are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are essential for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being. However, it is now beginning to be appreciated that these and other biologically active, non-nutrient compounds found in citrus and other plants (phytochemicals) can also help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Citrus is most commonly thought of as a good source of vitamin C. However, like most whole foods, citrus fruits also contain an impressive list of other essential nutrients, including both glycemic and non-glycemic carbohydrate, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and a variety of phytochemicals. In addition, citrus contains no fat or sodium, and, being a plant food, no cholesterol.