Citrus fruits are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are delicious anytime, but spring is when they’re at their best. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best citrus fruits and how you can make the most of them in the warmer weather.
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There are eleven common varieties of oranges around the world but the ones you will find mostly in Australia are:
• Navel – a sweet orange that’s great for eating.
• Valencia - sweet with lots of juice, often with a green tinge to the skin.
An average orange has around eighty calories and contains vitamins A, B6 & C, iron, thiamine, calcium, magnesium and several other minerals.
Oranges can be segmented and dipped in yoghurt for a healthy treat, or use the juice to make ice-pops, jellies, or smoothies. You can also make a salad dressing, marinade or sauce with orange juice.
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There are ten different varieties of mandarins available in Australia, the most common being:
• Hickson – bright orange loose skin that’s easy to peel.
• Imperial – easy to peel with very few seeds.
• Daisy – a large variety of mandarin that keeps well.
Mandarins have around forty calories and contain vitamins A & C. They are great in salads, fruit salads, stewed as a dessert or to top cakes and pavlovas.
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There are five varieties of grapefruit available in Australia with the most common being:
• Red – a newish variety, slightly sweeter with pink juice.
• Wheeny – a more traditional sour variety.
• Marsh – yellow with thicker skin and slightly sweeter taste.
A regular sized grapefruit has sixty calories and contains all the same vitamins and minerals as an orange.
Grapefruit can be eaten as is or dipped in yoghurt. The sweeter varieties can be added to a fruit salad or salad. Grapefruit also goes very well with shellfish.
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Of the six varieties of lemon, the most common in Australia are:
• Eureka – most common variety and available all year round.
• Meyer – smaller variety, less acidic.
• Lisbon – thinner skin and lots of juice.
Most lemons contain around twenty-five calories and have all the same nutritional benefits of an orange, plus a wide array of health benefits.
Add lemon juice to iced water or tea, make refreshing home-made lemonade, use as a dressing for salads, or in a morning health tonic. Just the smell of fresh lemons in a bowl will bring spring into any room.
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There are two main varieties of limes:
• Persian - thick-skinned and bright green in colour.
• Mexican – lighter green to yellowish.
The ones that we buy in the supermarket are generally Persian. Limes have twenty calories and all the vitamins and minerals of an orange. They are more acidic and have more natural sugar than lemons.
Limes can be used in the same way as lemons. They are also an aromatic fruit. Squeeze lime juice over salads, in salsa, stir-fry or seafood dishes.
All citrus foods contain antioxidants essential to our health, so find a way to add some citrus into your daily diet.