Add Zest To Your Kitchen With Citrus


Here in Vero Beach, citrus, of all foods, is dear to our hearts. Indeed, it is part of our very identity. Many of the families who made this area their home in the early decades of the 20th century found their fortunes in the citrus business. We live in a veritable citrus mecca: The Indian River Citrus District is a 200-mile-long but very narrow strip of land that possesses the ideal soil and climate for growing delicious citrus.

When we think of citrus, the first thing to come to mind is probably juice. But the fruit of the orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime trees can be used in a wide variety of culinary creations. And, with the exception of the seeds, the entire fruit can be put to use. Rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, citrus can find  its place in seafood and chicken dishes; soups and salads; marinades, salsas and dressings; and desserts and marmalades. Depending on the part of the fruit used, citrus can lend a fresh, sweet or tart touch to a recipe.

Just remember: “Cooking with citrus” is a bit of a misnomer, since the citrus elements are always added after the actual cooking is finished. And be careful when using it with dairy. Follow directions carefully, because the acid in citrus can curdle milk; after all, adding an acidic ingredient to milk is how cheese is made. If you’d like to start cooking with citrus, try one of the recipes offered here. Enjoy the versatility of Indian River County’s favorite fruit!


Orange Marmalade

Servings: 24 (2 jars)

  • 5–6 large oranges, 2 pounds, 4 ounces in total
  • 2 1⁄2 cups water
  • 4 1⁄4 cups gelling sugar

Remove skin and pith from oranges. Discard half and then cut remaining zest into very thin slices. Working over a heavy-based saucepan, cut through membrane into segments, dropping them into pan; squeeze membranes to release any juice into pan as well. Add prepared zest and water. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer steadily for 15 minutes. Place a small plate in freezer to chill. Stir in gelling sugar and return to
boil, stirring continuously, until the marmalade registers 223 F on a candy thermometer. Spoon a little marmalade onto chilled plate. Tilt plate, and if marmalade is gel-like, it is ready. If it runs, cook marmalade a little longer, checking again a few minutes later. When ready, transfer to two sterilized jam jars. Let cool before sealing and store in a dark, dry cupboard.

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