Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, phytochemicals and fiber. The most popular citrus fruit is the orange, usually served as orange juice in the morning. Lemons, limes and grapefruits are very low in calories. Oranges, tangelos and tangerines have a few more calories, but they're still not high in calories.
Citrus fruits vary in their amount of sourness. Lemons and limes are very sour and it's difficult to eat lemons or limes by themselves. Grapefruits are less sour, but it's common to serve grapefruits with a bit of sugar. Oranges and tangerines are very sweet.
Selecting and Storing Citrus Fruit
Citrus fruits should be firm and feel slightly heavy for their size when you pick them up. Choose fruits that aren't blemished or have cracked peels.
Most citrus are easy to store because you can keep them at room temperature as long as the peels are intact. Once they're peeled or sliced, the flesh should be stored in the refrigerator. Eat them within 3 to 4 days.
Preparing Citrus Fruits
Oranges can be prepared and eaten by removing the peels and separating the sections. Grapefruit can also be prepared this way, but they may need some sugar or other sweetener. You can also use oranges and grapefruit in recipes, or serve the juice as a beverage. Note that when you buy grapefruit juice it usually has added sugar or other sweetener - read the ingredients list to see what it contains.
Great Ideas for Citrus Fruits
Oranges, grapefruits and tangerines can be served in sections as an afternoon or evening snack. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of grapefruit slices and broil them in the oven. Add slices of lemon or lime to sparkling or plain water. Serve orange sections with your salad.
Nutrition InformationOne medium sized orange has 70 milligrams vitamin C, 39 micrograms folate, 52 milligrams calcium, 169 micrograms lutein and 3.1 grams fiber. One orange also has about 60 calories.
One half of a medium sized grapefruit has 178 milligrams potassium, 44 milligrams vitamin C, 1,187 International Units vitamin A and 1453 micrograms lycopene. One-half grapefruit also has 1.4 grams fiber and 41 calories (without added sugar).
Recipes Featuring Citrus Fruits
There's no need to keep citrus fruits for breakfast only. These recipes are healthy and delicious:
United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. "Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties." Accessed April 27, 2011. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html.
United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Grapefruit, raw, pink and red and white, all areas." Accessed April 27, 2011. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/index.html.