Texas Living

Candy, Curd, and Preserve Winter Citrus

By Celia Bryan-Brown 2.4.19

The pop and zing of citrus is exactly what you need to get through the ice and dreariness of winter. Let grapefruit, lemon, orange, and lime boldly march into your kitchen and brighten things up with fresh flavors and deliciously decadent treats.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Candied Meyer Lemon

Candied lemon peel is both a useful baking ingredient and yummy homemade candy. What’s more, it’s surprisingly easy to make, and a great use for extra peel if you’re squeezing loads of lemons into hot cups of tea or making a batch of something. Put aside a handful of this winter citrus to dip in melted dark chocolate for an extra-special candy. As it’s fruit, it’s practically good for you.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lemons
  • 4 cups water, plus extra for boiling
  • 4 cups sugar, plus extra for coating

Method:

  • Quarter your lemons and separate the flesh from the peels. Scrape the pith from your peels and slice into thin strips. You can also use a peeler.
  • Place peels in a saucepan with enough water to cover them and boil for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain, then rinse well and drain again.
  • Whisk 4 cups of water and your sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling and sugar is dissolved.
  • Add lemon peels and reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peels look translucent (around 45 minutes).
  • Drain the peels on a rack and sprinkle with sugar. Turn them over after 15 minutes and coat the other side. Let dry and cool uncovered overnight.
  • Store in the refrigerator for a week or giftwrap in cellophane with ribbon.

Citrus-Strawberry Salad

Fresh citrus is an unbeatable way to wake up on a cold morning. Include your favorite winter-only crop for a delicate array of clementines, tangerines, and strawberries.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Ruby Red Grapefruit Curd

Homemade citrus curd gives you a rich flavor and creamy texture that only comes from lovingly tending to a hot pan. Bright ruby red grapefruit curd makes an irresistible cake or doughnut filling.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh white grapefruit juice, strained
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ stick unsalted butter

Method:

  • Simmer grapefruit juice until reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside and let cool.
  • Whisk the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, and salt to combine, then whisk in your fruit zests and juices.
  • Set the bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the curd is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in butter in small pieces.
  • Transfer to a nonreactive bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the curd’s surface. Chill until set, 4 to 12 hours.

Freshly Squeezed Orange-Sesame Dressing

Add a punch of fresh-squeezed flavor by switching out vinegar for fresh orange juice; combine with soy sauce, sesame, and chile oil for a delicious sweet and spicy dressing.

Photo by Natalie Goff

Preserved Blood Orange

Preserved citrus fruit is a staple of Persian cuisine, giving a complex depth and zest to slow-cooked tagines. Pack orblike blood oranges with salt and cure with bay leaf, black pepper, and juniper. Chef Mourad Lahlou offers a few easy steps that you can use for any of the special winter citrus varieties you want to take with you into the rest of the year:

  • Scrub and dry your oranges, then slice them into quarters.
  • Sprinkle coarse salt over the flesh of the orange (you can’t overdo it, so don’t be shy here). You can also substitute some of the salt with sugar and experiment with herbs and spices.
  • Pack your fruit into a jar, layering with more salt and covering with enough lemon juice to submerge the fruit.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for four weeks, shaking the jar every once in a while. Voilà! You’ll have those treasured winter fruits for months to come.

Lime Juice Pickling

Fresh, acidic citrus juice adds a brilliant splash of flavor. Try pickling red onions by finely slicing and soaking them in lime juice until softened and pink. Throw them on wintry grilled kebobs and into salads.

Winter citrus can go a long way to cheering up your pantry. If it’s still looking bleak, fill it up with these winter essentials.

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