Winter is definitely up there as a favourite – 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 and 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 you 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 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.
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 below:
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Microwave Lemon Curd
- 2 eggs
- 250 grams sugar
- 2 lemons grated rind and juice
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 60 grams butter
- Beat eggs in a large microwave-safe bowl or jug. Add sugar. Beat until very creamy.2 eggs, 250 grams sugar
- Add lemon rind, juice and corn flour. Mix well. Add butter and combine gently.2 lemons, 1 tbsp cornflour, 60 grams butter
- Microwave on high for three minutes. Stir.
- Microwave on medium two minutes. Stir until smooth.
- Cool slightly. Spoon into sterilised jars. Store in the fridge.
Orange and almond cake
- 2 large naval oranges
- 5 eggs
- 1¼ cups caster sugar (250 grams)
- 2½ cups ground almonds (250 grams)
- 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.
- 4 naval oranges
- 1 lemon
- 200 ml water
- 3 cups sugar
- Thinly slice fruit. Place in two litre microwave safe jug or bowl.
- Add water. Microwave on high for 10 minutes to soften the fruit.
- Add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Microwave on high for 10 minutes then medium high for a further 10 minutes, watch carefully to ensure it doesn’t boil over.
- Test to check marmalade has reached gel point. A teaspoon of marmalade on an icy cold saucer should set. If not set, cook a minute or so more and retest until a firm gel is achieved.
- Cool slightly. Pour into sterilised jars. Cover and label when cool.