Winter is definitely a favourite for crisp days, the waft of wood-fire smoke and the most brilliant array of the freshest citrus imaginable. In Western Australia the citrus season kicks off in May and is now in full swing with the abundance of premium quality and delightfully scented mandarins, navel oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes at their absolute best.
Research conducted by the WA citrus industry revealed that local shoppers want citrus fruit which is: locally grown by WA orchards; great tasting; premium quality; fresh and healthy.
Citrus fruits are little golden storehouses of vitamin C. In fact one mandarin or orange will supply your daily requirement of this important antioxidant. Citrus fruits also contain vitamin B, potassium and calcium and are a good source of fibre. As a bonus, these magical fruits are sweet and juicy, making them very appetising and refreshing.
Look for WA citrus when next in your favourite supermarket or greengrocer. Most will carry an identifying sticker and retail signage will ensure your know you are buying local.
When choosing citrus, choose fruit heavy for their size, as this indicates they are full of juice. Remember that citrus is perfectly ripe when picked from the tree, so storing them for any length of time will not make them sweeter. Store citrus in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.
To obtain the maximum goodness from your citrus fruits, eat them fresh but don’t forget that citrus performs exceptionally well in sweet and savoury cooking. Oranges, mandarins and grapefruit work well in salsas and salads and all of these, along with lemon, make great accompaniments to fish, pork, poultry, ham and veal.
Without a doubt, the sweetness of oranges and mandarins make them ideal for including in recipes such as custard, muffins and cakes or for simply enjoying fresh out of the hand. A wee sliver of classic orange and almond cake is enough to get you wanting more.
Stock up on a selection of your favourite citrus fruits while they are in season and enjoy them in the recipes provided below.
Brought to you by Fresh Finesse Fresh Food Promotions – www.freshf.com.au
Orange and fennel salad
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 5 navel oranges
- 3 fennel bulbs ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced,
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fennel fronds optional
- 3 radishes ends trimmed, finely sliced
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, slice off both ends of each orange. Following the curve of the fruit, cut away the peel and white pith. Halve orange from top to bottom; thinly slice crosswise.
- Transfer oranges, along with any juices that have accumulated on work surface, to bowl with dressing. Add fennel. Toss to combine. Serve.
Orange and almond cake
- 2 large navel oranges
- 5 eggs
- 1¼ cups 250g caster sugar
- 2½ cups 250g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pure icing sugar or orange icing to decorate
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm cake tin.
- Place two whole oranges in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for one hour, ensuring that the oranges remain covered with water. Drain and cool. Chop the oranges into quarters, discard any seeds. Place orange chunks into a blender and puree until smooth.
- Beat eggs with sugar until thick, then add the orange puree, ground almonds and baking powder and mix well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for one hour. Leave the cake in the pan for 20 minutes to set firmly then turn out, remove the baking paper and turn over to finish cooling right way up.
- This cake definitely mellows with a little time and can be prepared up to 48 hours in advance. To serve, sift icing sugar on top or decorate with orange icing as preferred.
Carrot and orange soup
- 500 g carrots chopped
- 1 brown onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- Juice of two oranges
- Grated zest of one orange
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint optional
- Sauté carrots, onion and garlic in olive oil, until onions have softened slightly. Add stock, orange juice and zest.
- Simmer until vegetables are soft. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Add to the pan with zest and mint.
- Reheat when ready to serve. Add black pepper on serving, with a sprig of extra fresh mint.